Mandya: Just who will emerge the winner in this sugar bowl which witnessed a high decibel campaign before clocking a poll percentage of more than 70 in general elections on Thursday?
While leaders of JD (S) claim that such high percentage of voting mirrors the support of people for Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy's son, Nikhil Kumaraswamy, those supporting independent candidate Mrs Sumalatha Ambareesh argue that the figures are an indication of the admiration for the late actor-politician, M H Ambareesh.
Mr Manjunath, an office-bearer of local unit of JD (S), said such high percentage also reflected the fact that his party, which won all eight Assembly constituencies in elections held last year, has retained its stranglehold over the parliamentary constituency. An intensive campaign by Mr Kumaraswamy coupled with his emotional speeches helped win the hearts of people of Mandya. Besides, announcements about approval of projects worth Rs 8000 crores and revival of several sugar factories made a positive impact on the minds of voters. In addition, people in the district held party president H D Deve Gowda in high esteem and therefore these factors would undoubtedly benefit Mr Nikhil Kumaraswamy.
Debunking this theory, Mr Hanakere Shashi, a supporter of Mrs Sumalatha felt her call for restoring the 'self-respect' of Mandya evoked a tremendous response in her favour throughout the constituency. The rally held on April 16 made a lasting impact on voters to such an extent that they resolved to give her a chance. Caustic comments against her by several leaders of JD (S) had proved counter-productive while a host of actors campaigning for her would ensure her victory. Voters have backed her despite money and other inducements offered by leaders of JD (S).
She would create history as the first independent to win from Mandya constituency, he added. This constituency witnessed a high decibel poll campaigning during the last 20 days along with heated exchanges between leaders of JD (S) and Mrs Sumalatha who's main plank was the self esteem of people of Mandya. On the other hand, Mr Nikhil Kumaraswamy focused on performance of Congress-JD (S) government over the last ten months and pro-farmers' policies of the state government. The Chief Minister spent not less than a week, in two installments, to campaign for his son through his emotion-packed speeches ranging from his poor health to love and affection showered by local people on his family in the last five decades.
He broke down in public a couple of times while offering his sympathies to families of farmers who could not repay loans. Mr Kumaraswamy also invited Mr Deve Gowda, CLP leader Mr Siddaramaiah and, Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu to campaign for his son.
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