The Congress in Karnataka got a boost with a key figure in the Vokkaliga heartland, Kannada film star and housing minister M H Ambareesh, returning to Bangalore following nearly 50 days of treatment for a life-threatening lung condition, including a month in Singapore.
The actor, who enjoys a sizeable following in the Mandya region where he is the district in-charge, indicated Friday following his return that he would resolve “minor differences” within the unit which is threatening the prospects of the party’s candidate — actor Ramya Divya Spandana.
“We will win in Mandya, I have the confidence,” said Ambareesh, who is set to make a cameo appearance in the election campaign in Mandya on Sunday. He also said he would be campaigning Saturday for former Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani in the Bangalore South constituency, where there is an almost 20 percent Vokkaliga population in a nearly 20 lakh electorate.
The Kannada film star, in whose absence the Mandya unit of the Congress has been involved in a pitched factional feud involving his own supporters and those of former chief minister S M Krishna, refused to blame anybody for the disputes that have been threatening to derail party prospects in a seat that it wrested from the Janata Dal (Secular) only in 2013.
Ambareesh on Friday said the 31-year-old actress was naive on account of her age and some of her actions and statements may have inadvertently hurt his supporters. He said these were minor differences that could be sorted out.
“What is wrong if she says it was her father who brought me into politics. She is very young and was probably not born when I entered politics so she knows of things only from the time she reached an age of understanding. Whatever the situation, it is for seniors like me to help and guide young people like her,” Ambareesh said. “What is there if she said she knows Rahul Gandhi. I know him as well. But I don’t think she said anything to the extent that people are saying she did,” the actor-turned-politician said.
The housing minister said he had advised Ramya that she had somehow managed to win the polls in 2013 but that she needed to work hard in reaching out to the people to sustain the support.
Looking at the national picture, Ambareesh said he had attempted making a calculation with his limited political knowledge on whether the electoral numbers were stacking up in favour of Narendra Modi as is being widely perceived.
“The BJP is saying Modi will be prime minister. I want to know how he is going to do it when the numbers don’t seem to be adding up,” the minister said.