MANDYA: When she stepped out of DC office on Saturday, Kannada actor Ramya was brimming with confidence having to take on JD(S) at its bastion in by-polls for Mandya parliamentary constituency. “Yes, I can,” said the 30-year-old Youth Congress leader waving to her fans after filing the nomination papers for the by-polls.
However, her euphoria turned into grief as her foster father RT Narayan collapsed at the DC office premises and died later due to cardiac arrest.
On a day when she started to take baby steps in electoral politics, Ramya lost her father, who had big dreams for her in politics. Having been initiated into the political arena by her mentor former minister DK Shivakumar when she was elected to Youth Congress, Ramya, who is the surprise candidate for by-polls from Mandya, accompanied actor and district minister Ambareesh and Narayan to file the nomination papers, which was delayed given she has not submitted some documents.
As the leaders came out of the office, Narayan followed them. Enthused by her fans’ cheering, Ramya, who has acted in Kannada, Tamil and Telagu movies, met her supporters. “I love politics and I’ve to start somewhere,” she said explaining the reasons for her to take the plunge into electoral politics.
She spoke the political lingo too: “I choose Mandya because this is where I belong. This is namooru,” a bubbly Ramya said seeking to remove the outsider tag. During the recently concluded assembly polls, she didn’t canvass for the party in Mandya, but that doesn’t deter her from taking on JD(S). Asked whether she is ready to take on JD(S) at its stronghold, Ramya said: “Yes, I can.” Asked about her campaign plans, she smiled pointing at the minister and said: “Ask Amabreesh uncle.”
Minutes later, she came running to a private hospital where her father was moved after he collapsed at the DC office, even as Ramya was interacting with journalists. Earlier Narayan had told this reporter that Ramya’s political graph should grow like that of Ambareesh. “It is accident that she has got the opportunity to contest the polls. I hope she’ll make it big.” Narayan, who is close associate of former CM SM Krishna, said Ramya’s candidature was approved by Krishna.
Meanwhile, battle lines are drawn for the by-polls with candidates of major political parties entering the fray. After the deadline for the filing of the nomination papers is through, fourteen candidates are in the fray. On the last day to file the nomination papers, BJP entered the fray as its leader KS Doreswamy filed the papers. Sarvodaya Karnataka Party headed by litterateur Devanura Mahadeva fielded Nandini Jayaram. Sarvodaya Karnataka Party had won a Melkote assembly seat during the elections held in May.
This comes a day after JD(S) fielded former MLA CS Puttaraju to defend the constituency for the party. The by-poll is necessitated given the registration of MP N Chaluvarayaswamy after his election to the assembly from Nelamangala.
While BJP, which fared badly in the assembly polls, has entered the fray to make its mark, Congress took time to decide on the candidate to wrest the seat from principal opposition JD(S) in a repeat of its show in keenly contested adjourned polls to Periyapatna assembly segment in May-June.
Aware that the polls are crucial for the ruling Congress — it is the first major test CM Siddaramaiah is facing after he took over the reigns of the state — the party zeroed in on Ramya after much deliberation. Sources told Times of India that Siddaramaiah and KPCC chief G Parameshwara discussed a couple of names and zeroed in on Ramya given her strength to pull the crowd and take on JD(S).
The glamour quotient that made Congress zero-in on her was evident in play when the party candidate stepped out of the DC office. When she came to file the nomination papers, she was approached by a woman advocate who greeted her. A Congress woman leader said: “If people vote for her with the same enthusiasm, it will be easy for Ramya.”