Will it be Mandya or Basavanagudi for Ramya?

1:35 PM, Thursday, November 30th, 2017
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AmbareeshMandya: But fellow actor Ambareesh, MLA for Mandya, is projecting himself as the ‘son of the soil’

With actor-turned-politician Ramya renting a house in Vidyanagar area in Mandya, speculation is rife that she may contest from this constituency in the 2018 polls.

However, with another noted actor M.H. Ambareesh being the sitting MLA of Mandya, the Congress is also mulling the possibility of fielding her from a constituency in Bengaluru, to ensure that both the “stars” in the party are mollified.

These calculations have gained currency particularly after Mr. Ambareesh visited Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday. Mr. Ambareesh is said to be keen to contest from Mandya, projecting himself as the “son of the soil”, though he declared, in filmy style after the meeting with the Chief Minister, that he “does not care whether a Soumya or a Ramya or a Suma” contests from the constituency. Ms. Ramya, who heads the Congress’ social media outreach, lost in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Mandya.

Both the stars, who have a similar trajectory in politics and belong to the same community, have been on a cold war in the heartland of Vokkaliga politics.

Interestingly, various top Congress leaders are on a different page with regard to where Ms. Ramya will contest from.

According to D.K. Suresh, Bengaluru Rural MP, “Ramya has not sought ticket from Mandya, but the people in the constituency want Ramya to contest as she is active both in State and national politics.” On Ms. Ramya renting a house in Mandya, he said it had nothing to do with her electoral ambitions.

Energy Minister D.K Shivakumar has said that Ms. Ramya would play “an active role in State politics”. She will contest either from Mandya or from Basavanagudi, he said, adding that she would be the “star campaigner” of the party for the coming polls in the State.

However, the party’s working president Dinesh Gundu Rao said Mr. Ambareesh is the party’s senior leader and he plays an important role in decision-making. “There is no question of sidelining him, and the party high command will take a decision on whom to field in Mandya,” he said.
Sources in the party say that Mr. Siddaramaiah has an open mind on the issue. “He is keen that Ms. Ramya contest from one of the 28 constituencies in Bengaluru. Fielding her would add charisma to the campaign and will boost the morale of the workers here, particularly in the Bharatiya Janata Party-dominated constituencies,” they said.

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