Mandya MP Sumalatha Ambareesh Slams HD Kumaraswamy On Illegal Mining

 - Sakshi Post

Karnataka: Sumalatha Ambareesh, a member of parliament, and the Janata Dal (Secular), led by former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, have battled accusations over suspected illegal mining in Karnataka's Mandya district, some 100 kilometres south of Bengaluru.

MH Amarnath, better known by his screen name Ambareesh, a former actor and politician, was dragged into a verbal battle.

The feud between Sumalatha, the widow of renowned actor-turned-politician Ambareesh, and the JD (S), begun way back in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, was reignited this time when she claimed that illegal mining was damaging the construction of the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) dam.

On Monday, the Mandya MP had sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation into the effect due to illegal mining on the KRS Dam. Leaders of the JD(S), which has won all eight seats in the district, reacted quickly, saying that all illegal mining operations began while Ambareesh was in charge of the sugarcane-growing district.

"This is the number one point for loose talk by those who are expected to be in a responsible position," on Friday in Bengaluru, Sumalatha told reporters.

"If you have any documents that prove Ambareesh has done something illegal, definitely bring it and make a complaint to officials. Who said don’t? All these years you were there, why didn’t you take any action so far?" she questioned.

In the 2019 elections, Sumalatha, an independent who was sponsored by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), defeated Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the JD(S) candidate and son of HD Kumaraswamy.

Despite Kumaraswamy's party winning the assembly votes in all eight constituencies the year before, some JD(S) members made personal statements against Sumalatha that helped reverse the tide in her favour in 2019.

HD Kumaraswamy sparked outrage on Monday when he asked Sumalatha to sleep in front of the KRS dam gates to prevent seepage.

"For Mandya district, there was never a parliamentarian like her nor will there be one like her in the future. The day before, I had seen her in a meeting where she acted like the protector of KRS dam and we should probably make her sleep at the gates to ensure the water doesn’t leak," Kumaraswamy had told reporters.

In a rebuttal, the first-time MP stated that it demonstrates the former chief minister's mentality. "It proves his intolerance towards women," she said.

Experts think that the struggle between the JD(S) and the BJP-backed Sumalatha would have an impact on the relationship between the two parties in the district, where Congress is seen as the shared adversary.

On Friday, Prathap Simha, a member of Parliament from Mysuru-Kodagu, said Sumalatha should give evidence that the KRS dam was cracking.

"Before saying that it (Dam) has developed cracks, have you seen it personally and with what evidence are you making these statements," Simha said.

Sumalatha had also claimed that her phone had been tapped, which suggested Kumaraswamy may have abused his position as chief minister for personal gain.

Sumalatha exploited and benefited from Ambareesh's name and death, claimed Shivarame Gowda, a former MP from Mandya and a JD(S) leader, on Friday.

"I will ask Sumakka (Sumalatha)--so many people of Mandya gave you their vote, have you even given them a glass of water when you are in power?" Gowda said.

He went on to say that Ambareesh lived a rich man's life and enjoyed people's affection, but he did nothing for Mandya district.

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