Elections in the Mandya constituency in Karnataka has become a prestige battle for the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr HD Kumaraswamy.
The contest is between Mr Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the son of Mr Kumaraswamy and Anitha Kumaraswamy and Mrs Sumalatha Amabarsih the widow of the ex-Congress MP and well known film actor Mr Ambaraish. The constituency was earlier held by Mr Ambarish who expired recently on 24th November 2018.
Today we are seeing that two film actors Darshan and Yash who stood in support of Mrs Sumalatha are being targetted by the Chief Minister’s supporters by stoning the house of Mr Darshan and threatening them with action by Government agencies. One of the poor Auto walas who had put up Mr Darshan’s photo on his auto has also been targeted by vandalizing his auto. These incidents clearly show what kind of culture this candidate represents.
It is irrelevant that Mr Nikhil Kumarawamy first came to limelight through a midnight drunken attack on a hotel in Bangalore on 26th October 2006. However, there is no FIR pending in this case as per the affidavit filed. People in Mandya might have forgotten this incident and it may not be an election issue today.
Mr Ambarish himself was a successful and well loved actor though his performance as a Parliamentarian did not measure upto the required standard. He rarely participated in the parliamentary activities though he appears to have done lot of social work in his constituency and enjoys respect of the masses. Mr Ambarish started his film career as a villain but in later years turned a hero. But in real life he was a respected senior film personality and was always the go to man to resolve any crisis in the Kannada film industry.
Now his widow Sumalatha is contesting in Mandya. Congress to which Ambarish belonged to, has given up this seat to JDS in its Coalition seat sharing arrangement and refused to give B Form to Sumalatha. She is therefore contesting as an independent. BJP is supporting her by not fielding its candidate. Many followers of Ambarish and many Congress workers are also supporting her.
Since this is a prestigious battle, the Chief Minister has taken it as his personal responsibility to campaign for his son and turned the constituency to a center of focus.
It is interesting to note that in a bid to confuse the voters, three other ladies with the same name as “Sumalatha” have been made to contest and also demand the same election symbols that Sumalatha Ambarish has requested.
All this shows that there will be a bitter battle in Mandya and all the dirty tricks that can be used in the election would be used. God knows what would happen if it is perceived that Mrs Sumalatha Ambarish may win. There could be other unfortunate strategies including getting the election countermanded through some means. People need to watch out.
Mr Kumaraswamy’s family is itself in the film industry for a long time and several strategies to attract attention of the public through film dialogues etc are being tried out. It is therefore fun time for the people of Mandya. But people of Mandya though living in villages, are not illiterates. They are politically savvy and are intelligent enough to know the difference between what is reality and what is drama.
It is therefore interesting to see how the people react to the campaign strategies of the Chief Minister and his son.
Whatever may be the prestige involved in the election, we urge the Chief Minister and his party not to resort to unethical political gimmicks to win the election. It could seriously erode the reputation of the Chief Minister personally and his family.
The results of this constituency would be a test of democracy and the entire country should keep watching.