Srirangapatna, Karnataka, May 7: Three time MP and 'Rebel Star' of Kannada Silver Screen M H Ambareesh (Congress) faces an uphill task in his maiden attempt to enter the Karnataka Assembly from the temple town Srirangapatna going to poll in the first phase on May 10. The actor turned politician, who had represented Mandya in the Lok Sabha for three terms, faces stiff competition in this sugarbelt of Mandya District as Farmers Association (Rajya Raith Sangha), which was fed up with politicians not responding to their plight, floated Sarvodaya Karnataka Party (SKP) and selected one of its leader K S Nanjunde Gowda, who had unsuccessfully contested in the last four elections.
For Ambareesh it will be an acid test as he was locked in a multi-cornered contest with eight candidates in the fray and peculiarity of the constituency of electing only woman candidates since 1989. Pooja M Santosh of BJP is the lone woman candidate in the fray. Mr Gowda said that "though I experienced misfortune in the elections contested so far, I had been with the people always trying to solve their problems".
Ambareesh enjoys the 'love' of his fans, while Gowda enjoys the sympathy of the voters for suffering close defeats. Stating that Ambareesh is an outsider and will not be accepted by the people as he has not done to help them even as an MP, Mr Gowda said that "people will have to travel to Bangalore for getting solved their each and every problem if Mr Ambareesh was elected. I hope the people will prefer a performer rather than a film actor."
It will be a fight between glamour verses farming in this constituency which has 1,81,515 voters including 90,868 male and 90,649 female voters.
Ambareesh, a three-time MP from Mandya constituency, is fighting the toughest ever poll in his life and being made to work hard to make it to the Vidhana Soudha campaigning for more than 14 hours and covering about 30 villages with a real involvement with the voters in his effort to convince them.
But the craze for actor, in general for film personalities, has diminished with the awareness among the voters. Darshan, who was roped into canvass for him was not well accepted by the voters. The voters including the women voters question about his performance and ask how many times he raised their issues in the Parliament.
He was not there when farmers faced sugarcane crushing crisis in the district and he was not there when Tamil Nadu planned to take up controversial Hogenakkal project, they said. Some voters even termed as 'gimmick' Ambareesh resigning for Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting post over Cauvery issue.
Ambareesh in his filmy style brushed aside the criticism saying that it was only a propaganda by some of his rivals. He said that "I had decided to contest from Srirangapatna two years ago. When I resigned my Minister post over Cauvery issue I had decided to develop the constituency by entering the state politics."
The three time MP and former Union Minister Ambareesh, though succeeded in getting the party ticket, he has to face wrath by those who are against giving him ticket by changing already selected candidate Ravindra Srikanthaiah who hailed from family with a strong political background and they are staying away form the campaign. This election is an acid test for him as the party lacks a collective leadership. He can turn the fortune in his favour if he wins over the dissident leaders from JD (S) which holds a sizable number of Vokkaliga community votes.
The JD (S) has fielded Ramesh Babu Bandisiddegowda, son of former MLA. BJP, in an attempt to encash peculiarity of the constituency and to make inroads into this historic temple town has fielded Puja Santhosh, wife of party Youth leader and Advocate Santosh. B Lingegowda (BSP), Chandrasekhar (SP), Sundally Somasekhar (Suvarna Yuga) and Krishna Murthy (Ind) are the other candidates in the fray.