By R Murali
Mandya, May 24:- Nothing tastes like success. For Sumalatha Ambareesh, victory in the Mandya Lok Sabha constituency could not have come at a better moment. With odds stacked heavily against her, Sumalatha triumph over Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil by a margin of more than one lakh was shrouded in suspense till the last minute.
Considering the Mandya region is totally dominated by Vokkaligas and the clout the Gowda family wields, there were many who doubted Sumalatha’s victory. But what really tilted the needle in her favour was many disgruntled leaders and workers from both Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) refused to support Nikhil for many reasons. This, coupled with Sumalatha’s clean image and her late husband Ambareesh’s popularity as an actor and a politician helped her to a large extent.
With twin bulls from the Sandalwood, Yash and Darshan Tugudeep also jumping into the fray to campaign for her was a shot in the arm for Sumalatha. Time and again, many JD(S) leaders from this region made ‘cheap’ comments against both Yash and Darshan who have considerable fan-following here. The duo did not react to the adverse comments which had a positive impact on the voters.
Overjoyed by Sumalatha’s resounding victory, both the actors congratulated her and in particular, thanked the people of Mandya for their overwhelming support. Yash and Darshan said, “This victory belongs to Mandya people. Sumalatha is committed to the constituency and she will not disappoint her voters. She will dedicate her time to the overall development of the constituency in the next five years.”
Training their guns on their detractors who had made derogatory remarks against them, the duo said, “Those who made wry comments against us and Sumalatha have been given a fitting reply.”
In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Mandya grabbed more attention than any other constituency in the state for the simple reason that Sumalatha was pitted against a candidate who hails from a powerful family. Stalwarts from both Congress and JD(S) canvassed for Nikhil relentlessly but in the end, the caste factor that the coalition partners were banking on failed to meet their expectations.
For both the coalition partners, there is a strong message from the people of Mandya: “Never take your voters for granted and there is no room for complacency.”