BJP to support Sumalatha in Mandya Lok Sabha seat
New Delhi, Mar 23: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday declared support to film actress Sumalatha, an Independent candidate from Mandya constituency in Karnataka's old Mysuru region considered a stronghold of JD(S).
Sumalatha, wife of late actor M H Ambareesh, decided to contest as an independent after being denied a ticket by the Congress, which is now facing trouble in the district over conceding the seat to it's ruling coalition partner JD(S).
BJP's Central Election Committee Secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda announced the partys decision to support Sumalatha, as he read out the list of candidates for various Lok Sabha seats across the country in Delhi.
With Congress ruling out fielding Sumalatha for Mandya, saying it would go to JD(S), clamour had grown within BJP to induct her and field her as the candidate, as a section believed it would help the saffron party, which doesn't have much presence in the Vokkaliga bastion.
However, BJP's state leadership was one in supporting her as an independent so she could continue to bank on the support of disgruntled Congress leaders in Mandya, who are upset about their party's decision to cede the seat to JD(S).
Congress and JD(S) have been arch rivals in old Mysuru region, especially Mandya.
Both parties forged an alliance to form the government after the 2018 assembly poll results and are fighting the Lok Sabah polls together, according to the coalition arrangement.
Sumalatha's late husband Ambareesh had contested and won from Mandya in the past and enjoys popularity among the masses there.
She had filed her nomination as an independent on Wednesday and enjoys the support of many within the Kannada film industry, with film stars Darshan and Yash among others by her side during campaigning.
Sumalatha had also sought the support of senior BJP leader and former Karnataka Chief Minster S M Krishna, a prominent Vokkaliga leader from Mandya.
Despite losing Mandya Lok Sabha seat in the bypolls in November 2018, BJP had made significant inroads, with party candidate Siddaramaiah, a political greenhorn and former civil servant securing 2,44,404 votes, its best performance there.
BJP on Saturday also announced that Muniswamy S, a Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike corporator from Kadugudi, would be its candidate for the Kolar Lok Sabha seat.
With the announcement for two seats on Saturday, BJP has so far announced candidates for 23 (including Mandya) out of total of 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
The first list of 21 candidates was announced on Thursday.
The five seats for which the party is yet announce its candidates are Koppal, Raichur, Bangalore South, Bangalore Rural and Chikkodi.
Congress and JD(S) that have decided to fight the polls in alliance will contest for 20 and eight seats respectively and are yet to formally announce their list of candidates.
Karnataka will go to the polls in two phases, 14 constituencies each, on April 18 and 23.
OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)