Mandya: The constituency of Mandya for sure had the most cameras covering the elections as Sumalatha Ambareesh, wife of former minister and Congress leader Late M H Amareesh locked horns with Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.
The contest between the two and the hype surrounding the two even at the national-level, forced many to wonder if 'Mandya is India'.
Independent candidate Sumalatha bagged 5,25,865 votes as against JDS-Congress alliance candidate Nikhil Kumaraswamy, who bagged 4,49,435 votes.
M H Ambareesh, who was always addressed as 'Mandyada Gandu' (Man from Mandya) has a huge fan following in the district, not just because of his on-screen fame, but also because of the humanitarian works he did for the people of Mandya during his lifetime. It so seems that Sumalatha's victory was a repayment to Ambareesh by the people of the constituency.
Nikhil, on the other hand, is also an actor and his entry into politics was an unexpected one. Despite being the grandson of JDS Supremo H D Devegowda and son of H D Kumaraswamy, not many expected Nikhil to enter the political arena as he had started his acting career and seemed very serious about the same. Nikhil and his cousin Prajwal Revanna's entry into politics was criticised by many, who termed it as 'dynasty politics'.
The Mandya election witnessed a slugfest of a different level between the JDS faction and Sumalatha Ambareesh, who had two major pillars of support- superstars Darshan and Yash.
The politics in Mandya witnessed some tension when one of the opposition leaders called Sumalatha an outsider and said that she was not fit to represent Mandya as she was not a 'Gowdathi'.
However, maintaining her calm, Sumalatha stayed very focused on her work and never resorted to making any untoward statements against her opponents.
The JDS, on the other hand, kept making provocative statements, questioning her identity, community that she and her supporter Darshan belong to and the likes.
With the backing of the BJP, Sumalatha decided to enter the political field after the death of her husband, even as senior Congress leaders condemned her for the same. She had said that her husband had nurtured a lot of dreams for Mandya, which she has to fulfil and that she needed to be the voice of the voiceless.
Responding to her resounding win, Sumalatha said that this is her greatest achievement in life. "I am glad that I made the choice to contest from Mandya. I thank the people of Mandya and the state for my victory. The people of Mandya have a lot of self-respect and that is why they have chosen me over the others," she stated.
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