Minister Ambareesh leads star pack in Karnataka polls

Bangalore, May 11 Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting M.H. Ambareesh is among seven Kannada film actors trying their luck in the Karnataka assembly elections that began Saturday.

Sunday, May 11, 2008 | 8:31:47 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Bangalore, May 11 (IANS) Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting M.H. Ambareesh is among seven Kannada film actors trying their luck in the Karnataka assembly elections that began Saturday.

Jaggesh, Sai Kumar, Shashi Kumar, B.C. Patil, Uma Shri and Hema Shri are the other actors in the fray.

The Election Commission has banned the release of films in which some of these stars are playing leading roles until after the completion of the voting May 22.

High drama preceded and followed the nomination of Ambareesh, Jaggesh and Uma Shri by the Congress party.

Popularly known as 'rebel star', Ambareesh, a four-time Lok Sabha member from the sugarcane rich Mandya district, faced a rebellion from local Congress leaders when he was given the ticket to contest from the historic town of Srirangapatna, close to Mysore.

Though Srirangapatna falls in Ambareesh's Lok Sabha constituency Mandya, he was considered an outsider as he does not hail from that town but belongs to neighbouring Maddur.

Uma Shri, a former member of the legislative council (upper house of the state legislature), is contesting from Therdal in Bagalkot district in north Karnataka where polling will take place May 22 in the last phase. Her nomination too was opposed by local leaders.

Ambareesh and Uma have managed to pacifiy the unhappy local leaders.

In the case of Jaggesh it was a different kind of drama as he was first denied the ticket to contest from Turuvekere in Tumkur district, about 80 km from Bangalore. He and his supporters took out rallies against the state Congress leadership.

Supporters wanted Jaggesh to contest as an independent, forcing the party to nominate him. His constituency saw voting Saturday.

Suave Sai Kumar is fighting on the BJP ticket from Bagepalli in Kolar district which was once famous for gold mines.

Shashi Kumar, a former Lok Sabha member, is trying his luck from Challakere in Chitradurga district where polling is due May 16.

B.C. Patil, a former policeman, is this time contesting from Hirekerur in Have district in north Karnataka as a Congress candidate. He was in the Janata Dal-Secular and joined the Congress early this year.

Hema Shri is fighting on the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket from Chikkanayakanahalli in Tumkur district, which went to the polls May 10.

The Congress boasts of star value from Ambareesh, Uma Shri and Jaggesh. The BJP has Srinath, popularly known as 'Pranaya Raja' (romantic hero), and 'Mukhyamanthri' (chief minister) Chandru campaigning for it.

Srinath and Chandru are members of the legislative council. The epthet 'Mukhyamanthri' stuck to Chandru as he became famous enacting that role on screen.

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