Bengaluru: After turning down the Mandya Congress ticket, former Minister M.H. Ambarish has sent a chill down the spines of Mandya Congress leaders by hosting a dinner for state JD(S) President H.D. Kumaraswamy in his apartment.
Sources in the party said that Mr Ambarish politely sought some time to respond to the invitation by Mr Kumaraswamy to join the JD(S). Instead, the actor-politician felt it would be better if he remained neutral and does not support the Congress, sources said.
The meeting took place Saturday night at the film actor's apartment on Race Course Road, where the two leaders held a closed door meeting for more than one- and-a-half hours. The meeting was arranged by some common NRI friends of Mr Ambarish and Mr Kumaraswamy.
Mr Ambarish, who declined the Congress party ticket, had decided to remain neutral during the elections. During the final phase of the polls, his meeting with Mr Kumaraswamy has raised many eyebrows.
Sources said Mr Ambarish has assured Mr Kumaraswamy that he will not campaign for the Congress. By taking a neutral stand, he will be sending a silent signal to his followers to vote against the Congress. In Mandya, where the BJP has no strong base, the anti-Congress votes would then go to the JD(S), which has a strong base in the district. But, Mr Kumaraswamy felt that it would be better if Mr Ambarish joined the JD(S).
During the last three years, when Mr Ambarish's health failed, there were rumors that he would quit politics and that he was unable to carry out his work in the constituency. The rumours were however being spread by sources within the Congress and Ambarish was aware of this. Later, he was unceremoniously shown the door from Siddaramaiah's cabinet, leaving him sulking in the last two years.
Mr Ambarish was against the party poaching on two JD(S) MLAs in the district- Cheluvarayaswamy and Ramesh Bandisidde Gowda. While Ramesh Bandisidde Gowda had defeated Ambarish in Srirangapattana, Cheluvarayaswamy had defeated him in the Parliament elections. Meanwhile, Ms Ramya's entry into Mandya politics and her proximity to Congress president Mr Rahul Gandhi had made her all powerful, pushing the long-time icon to the shadows.
However, when the elections were declared, the party realised that it needed Mr Ambarish to win Mandya.
He has a huge fan following among women in the Old-Mysuru region and hurting him would hurt their sentiments too, which would go against the party prospects in the Old-Mysuru region.
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