BANGALORE, April 18, 2013, DHNS:
Actor-politician M H Ambareesh pulled all the strings to ensure that he was the Congress candidate from the Mandya constituency for the May 5 Assembly elections.
But, the moot point is whether he is in a position to muster support from his own party leaders and workers to realise his dream of entering the Assembly for the first time.
Congress’ Ravindra Srikantaiah, who had been nurturing the Srirangapatna constituency for years, has entered the fray as an Independent candidate from Srirangapattana and Mandya.
The aim of this rebel candidate is quite obvious: to pack off the ‘rebel star’ from Mandya.
While Ambareesh is yet to begin his campaign, Ravindra, being a native of Srirangapatana, has already completed several rounds of campaign in both the constituencies. As on Thursday, he has no plans to withdraw his papers from either of the constituencies.
Ambareesh was against Ravindra contesting from Srirangapatana as he believes that he was responsible for his (Ambareesh’s) defeat in 2008 Assembly elections. Bowing to pressure from Ambareesh, the party denied ticket to Ravindra and fielded the actor’s protegee Lingarajau. Ambareesh has stated that former chief minister S M Krishna would also be campaigning for him. But that looks a distant possibility as Ravindra is a staunch Krishna loyalist, it is said. When contacted by Deccan Herald, Ravindra said that Ambareesh seems to be unaware of the difference between voters and fans.
“As a film personality he may have hundreds of fans. But, that does not mean that they will all vote him. The Mandya election will make him understand this reality.
“Of course, I too like him as an actor,” he said.
Ravindra had filed four sets of nominations — two from Mandya and two from Srirangapatna (as both Congress and Independent candidate). On Thursday, two sets of nominations filed by him as a Congress candidate in Srirangapatna and Mandya have been rejected.
Asked whether he was under pressure from the Congress to withdraw his papers, Ravindra replied in the negative. On what forced him to him take on the party, he said that in the 2008 elections too Ambareesh had ‘snatched’ the B form from him but could not win the election from Srirangapatna. He has done it again, Ravindra said. “To me and my family, politics is a full-time vocation, whereas Ambareesh is not a serious politician. The actor has problems with every respectable family in Mandya. Many senior leaders have remained neutral. Even respectable persons such as M S Atmananda are keeping off party activities,” he claimed.
Asked how the actor manged to get the ticket, Ravindra alleged that there was a chorus from big cine stars such as Rajanikant, Mohanlal, Chiranjeevi among others in favour of Ambareesh which eventually made the Congress President Sonia Gandhi to favour him. “Such blackmailing may help him in getting the ticket but not votes,” he remarked.
KPCC general secretary Bose Raj said that the AICC is making efforts to make Ravindra to withdraw from the fray. The party observers are in touch with him, he added. Meanwhile, a JD(S) rebel is also in the fray from Mandya. Ashok Jayaram, son of former minister the late S D Jayaram, who was denied ticket in favour of M Srinivas, is contesting as an Independent.