The Mandya parliamentary constituency, a key segment in Karnataka witnessing a keen fight between Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil K from Janata Dal (S) and senior actor Sumalatha, an independent, is witnessing no national party candidates in the fray for the first time since the first elections held way back in 1952.
The seat was left for JD(S) by the Congress party under pre-poll election understanding by the coalition partners in which JD(S) is contesting in seven seats including Mandya and Congress in remaining 21 seats in Karnataka.
The BJP decided not to field its candidate and is supporting Sumalatha, widow of former union minister MH Ambareesh.
Even though the BSP has filed his candidate, it has no base in Karnataka. This has resulted in two national parties not fielding its candidates for the first time since the 1952 Lok Sabha election. The 65-year electoral history, Mandya has witnessed 20 elections including four by-elections.
The Congress had filed its candidates in all the elections in the segment including 2014 polls. It had won 13 times. Praja Socialist Party in 1968 and Janata Party in 1984, had won once each. JD(S) had won twice and erstwhile United Janata Dal had won it two times, while JD-S had won the seat three times in 2009, 2014 and 2018 by-elections.
BJP has been trying to mark its footprint in the constituency since the 1990 elections. However, it could not show much strength excepting in 2018 by-elections when Prof Siddramiah had secured the highest 2.4 lakh votes and lost to JD-S candidate L R Shivarame Gowda with a margin of over three lakh.
This election will be prestigious for the JD-S since the third generation of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda family and son of chief minister Kumaraswamy, Nikhil K, is contesting.
Sumalata is being BJP, Ritha Sangha besides A few Kannada cinema stars. All eyes are in this constituency going to poll on April 18.