Independent MP Sumalatha Ambareesh joins BJP in a boost to NDA ahead of LS polls

PTI | Bengaluru | Updated: 05-04-2024 15:17 IST | Created: 05-04-2024 15:17 IST
Independent MP Sumalatha Ambareesh joins BJP in a boost to NDA ahead of LS polls
  • Country:
  • India

Actor-turned-politician and independent MP from Mandya in Karnataka Sumalatha Ambareesh on Friday joined the BJP, in a boost to the NDA ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Terming it an ''important and good day'' in her political life, the 60-year-old said she is deeply inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, his dream for the country by 2047 and his dedication towards it.

''Listening to his (PM) speeches in the parliament, I have been inspired and I have understood things. Considering all these things, I felt joining BJP would be a right choice for me,'' she said, as she also thanked several state leaders including former Chief Ministers B S Yediyurappa, Basavaraj Bommai and D V Sadanada Gowda for their cooperation.

Veteran BJP leader Yediyurappa, state President B Y Vijayendra, Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly R Ashoka, national General Secretary in-charge of elections in Karnataka Radha Mohan Das Agarwal and Sadananda Gowda were among those who welcomed her into the party fold at its state headquarters here.

With BJP ceding Mandya seat to its alliance partner JD(S) in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Sumalatha, after consulting her supporters and wellwishers in Mandya, on Wednesday announced her decision to opt out of the elections, and join the BJP.

The wife of popular film star M H Ambareesh, Sumalatha had earlier staked claim for BJP ticket for re-election from the Mandya seat that was represented by her late husband in the past. But the party convinced her and gave it to JD(S).

JD(S) state President and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy is now the alliance's joint candidate from Mandya.

Kumaraswamy on Sunday met Sumalatha, and sought her cooperation in the polls.

As an independent candidate, Sumalatha had won the seat in 2019 by defeating the then Chief Minister Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil Kumaraswamy of JD(S), by a margin of 1,25,876 votes, with the BJP's support.

It was a bitterly fought election back then. The JD(S) was in an alliance with the Congress at the time.

Sumalatha entered politics in 2019 and plunged into the poll arena as an independent, after the Congress, of which her late husband was a part, denied her the ticket, as the party had left the Mandya seat to its then alliance partner JD(S). Both parties were then running a coalition government under Kumaraswamy's Chief Ministership.

Late Ambareesh had served as MP, MLA and Minister in Karnataka and at the Centre in the Congress governments. He was also part of Janata Dal in the past In the 2019 polls, Sumalatha rode on a sympathy wave following the death of her husband, who was an icon of sorts in Mandya district.

Popular Kannada film stars like Darshan Thoogudeepa and Yash (Naveen Kumar Gowda), along with her son Abishek Ambareesh had extensively campaigned for her then. Noting that she had registered a ''historic win'' in Mandya five years ago with the help of her supporters and Ambareesh's fans, Sumalatha said the BJP by extending her support back then gave her a lot of strength. Sumalatha recalled that five years ago, when she was an independent candidate from Mandya, PM Modi had sought people's support for her, and also paid tributes to Ambareesh. She said during her tenure as MP, BJP leaders had guided her.

Sumalatha also hit out at the Congress for claiming credit for reopening of Mysore Sugar Company Ltd, or Mysugar, factory in Mandya, and said it could be done thanks to the efforts of the previous BJP government.

Welcoming Sumalatha into the party, Vijayendra said she has joined the BJP keeping the country's development and security in mind, and with an intention to make Modi Prime Minister once again.

''She has her influence in Mandya, with Ambareesh's popularity and her work as an MP. It will give strength to BJP not only in the segment, but in the state,'' Vijayendra said.

Earlier in the day speaking to reporters after paying respects to her husband's memorial, Sumalatha, responding to a question about campaigning for Kumaraswamy in Mandya, said JD(S) is with BJP and is part of NDA.

''So, not only in Mandya, wherever the party asked me to go and campaign, it will be my duty. This election is not only about me, Kumaraswamy, JD(S) and Mandya, but to make the NDA win all 28 Lok Sabha seats (in the State) and Modi PM once again,'' she said.

Stating that joining BJP ''along with a responsibility'' has given her an additional strength, Sumalatha, commenting on her decision to join BJP, said one should be realistic, and one cannot hope for an independent candidate to win the polls every time. ''I am not aspiring to any position, I have my own plans and will work accordingly. I will go by the party decision after discussing with leaders,'' she said, adding that most of her supporters and wellwishers are with her.

Former Koppal MP Shivaramagouda Shivanagouda rejoined the party, quitting Congress. Ex-Cricketer Dodda Ganesh also joined the party on Friday.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback