Millennium Post

Cong rules out fielding late Ambareesh's wife from Mandya

Bengaluru: Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah on Tuesday ruled out fielding Sumalatha Ambareesh, wife of late actor-turned-politician Ambareesh, for the Mandya Lok Sabha seat, saying it would go to party's coalition partner JD(S).

Siddaramaiah said talks are on between the coalition partners on seat sharing and expressed confidence about the alliance winning more than 20 out of 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

"As far as Sumalatha is concerned, as there is JD(S) sitting MP in Mandya, that seat won't come for Congress. In the alliance set up it will go to JD(S)," Siddaramaiah told reporters in Hubballi.

Stating that contesting as independent candidate was left to Sumalatha to decide, he said, "When that parliament seat will not come to Congress, there is no question of giving ticket to Sumalatha to contest from there."

Asserting that the JD(S) would contest from Mandya, its bastion, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's party on Sunday had indicated Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil Kumaraswamy is likely to be the candidate from the seat. Sumalatha Ambareesh has expressed her strong intentions to contest from Mandya on a Congress ticket.

Despite some senior Congress leaders indicating that the Mandya seat may go to JD(S) in the seat-sharing arrangement between coalition partners, there was growing pressure within the Congress to field Sumalatha.

Sections within the Congress were hopeful of gaining the Mandya seat, banking on Ambareesh's popularity in the region and sympathy wave following his death recently.

There are also reports about Sumalatha, who is also a popular south Indian actress, contesting independently, if the JD(S) does not give up the seat for the Congress in her favour.

Reports also suggest the BJP which doesn't have much presence in the Vokkaliga bastion, was planning to support Sumalatha, if she decides to contest as an independent candidate.

Siddaramaiah who is also the the chief of ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition coordination committee said, according to Congress' internal report, by going to polls with JD(S), the alliance would win more than 20 parliamentary seats.

Noting that discussion on seat sharing is in progress, he said, in the next four to five days it would be decided.

The coordination committee that met on Monday to decide on seat sharing could not arrive at a consensus, and it is now expected to be finalised by both party's high command involving Congress President Rahul Gandhi and JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda.

Seat sharing is likely to be a major test for both parties as the JD(S) has demanded 12 seats out of the total of 28 seats.

On Congress rebel MLA Umesh Jadhav's resignation from the assembly membership, Siddaramaiah said the BJP had poached him with allurements and according to him, the resignation cannot be accepted, when the petition for disqualification was pending with the Speaker.

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