The visit by independent MP Sumalatha Ambareesh to the BJP office in her constituency- Mandya- to attend a meeting on Wednesday sparked speculation about her joining the Amit Shah-led party.
However, the actress turned politician clarified that she had visited the office to thank party leaders and workers in the district for their support in her election. The BJP had supported Sumalatha in Mandya during the Lok Sabha polls by not fielding any candidate.
“I will not join the party without informing the media, because what is there in hiding such matters. Can I keep it secret from you (media)..you will be the first to know,” Sumalatha told reporters at Mandya after visiting the BJP office. She said she will seek BJP’s cooperation and support for the development of her constituency.
“Other than that as of now to questions about joining this party or that party, supporting parties in the election (by-polls)- I don’t have answers. Earlier I had visited BJP head office in Bengaluru, even then similar questions were raised..I’m not like other politicians, please don’t see me like that,” she added.
Speculation has been rife about Sumalatha, the widow of Congress leader and popular actor turned politician M H Ambareesh, joining the BJP for some time now. “I had tried to have meeting with Mandya BJP leaders, workers three-four times soon after election, but it got delayed due to various reasons, finally I was able to meet them today and thanked them for their support,” she said.
Sumalatha also noted that Congress workers in Mandya had supported her during the polls, and not the Congress party. In a huge embarrassment to the then Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, his son Nikhil (JDS) was defeated by Sumalathaby 1,25,876 votes after a bitterly fought campaign.
JD(S) leaders have blamed their former alliance partner Congress and its leader Siddaramaiah specifically for Nikhil’s defeat. Sumalatha had initially sought a ticket from the Congress, the party from which her late husband had represented Mandya in the past, but it was denied citing coalition compulsions asit had to cede the constituency to JD(S), as per the seat-sharing arrangement.
She declared her candidature as an independent, but the move irked Kumaraswamy and the JD(S) leadership, who were once close to Ambareesh, as they gauged that she might be a threat for them in their backyard. All was not well between the alliance partners as several Congress leaders and workers, miffed over their party’s decision to cede the seat to JD(S), did not campaign for Nikhil.
Many party leaders and workers had extended support to Sumalatha and campaigned for her openly with the Congress flag.