Bengaluru: It is a young hero versus a famous yesteryear heroine in Mandya Lok Sabha seat.
Nikhil Kumaraswamy, a cine star and son of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is taking on Sumalatha, the widow of former minister and celebrated film star Ambareesh, in Mandya which was once the sugar bowl of Karnataka.
The collateral damage of this battle are their movies.
The Election Commission has banned screening of movies starring them on Doordarshan till voting in the seat is over. The order was issued by deputy commissioner and Returning Officer of Mandya parliamentary seat N Manjushree.
She has also clarified that the ban is not applicable to private TV channels and theatres. Mandya will voting on April 18 in the second phase of polling for the Lok Sabha elections.
Sumalatha has acted in hundreds of Kannada, Tamil and Telugu movies. Nikhil has played the lead in two Kannada movies, Jaguar and Seetharama Kalyana.
The mother of all battles has vertically divided the Kannada film industry. Top actors like Darshan and Yash of KGF fame are backing Sumalatha against the CM's son.
Sumalatha has decided to contest as an Independent candidate. She is likely to get the support of the BJP, which is a minor player in Mandya.
Many local Congress leaders who are upset with the seat going to their arch-rival JD(S) are openly supporting Sumalatha, making it an election to watch.
It has angered Kumaraswamy and his MLA-wife Anitha Kumaraswamy. Both have decided to camp in Mandya to ensure their son's victory.
On the other hand, Sumalatha is riding on sympathy wave. Ambareesh, a three-time Mandya MP, one-time MLA and a state and former Union minister died in November.
Several of his colleagues are backing Sumalatha. Interestingly, Kumaraswamy is also from a film background. Before entering politics in 1996, he was a film producer.
JD(S) MLA Narayana Gowda has warned film stars not to meddle in politics. He has threatened them with dire consequences if they don't stay neutral during elections.