Clashes have erupted in Mandya, Karnataka on Thursday, between supporters of JD(S)' Nikhil Gowda, son of Karnataka CM H.D Kumaraswamy and supporters of an independent candidate, Sumalatha - wife of late Congress Leader and Kannada actor Ambareesh.
Visuals accessed from the incident show a mass of people from both sides engaging in wild fisticuffs, with the Police struggling to control the situation. Even after the fracas was broken up, the two sides continued to hurl slogans at each other aggressively.
Mandya has gained popularity in this elections as Kumaraswamy's son and actor-turned-politician, Nikhil Gowda is debuting in the ongoing polls as JD(S) Lok Sabha candidate for the Mandya constituency. He faces multi-lingual actress Sumalatha, who while contesting independently is reportedly being backed by both the Congress, which is in coalition with JD(S) in Karnataka and its main rival, BJP.
Earlier, Kumaraswamy along with his wife Anitha son cast his vote on Thursday morning. When asked about the criticism by the opposition BJP and AIADMK about promoting dynastic politics on account of having fielded his son from Mandya, the Karnataka CM said:
"Dynasty politics isn't an important issue now as the country's problems are the main issue. Because of dynasty politics only many states developed in this country. Only because of dynasty politics and regional politics, this country developed in several states. We're not bothered about criticism from BJP. "
Kumaraswamy had previously accused coalition partner Congress and others of hatching a 'chakravyuha', a deadly formation in epic Mahabharata, to defeat his son and JDS nominee Nikhil in Mandya Lok Sabha seat. He has been reportedly been campaigning continuously in Mandya for his son at the cost of other constituencies in Karnataka.
"There are developments that have gone out of hand in Mandya. The independent candidate has got widespread support. She may appear as an independent but she has got the support of Congress, BJP and Raita Sangha (farmers' association). All of them have joined hands to trample JD(S). Somewhere some Chakravyuha has been hatched. But the people of Mandya, those toiling populace, have already taken a decision (to elect Nikhil)" he had told reporters in Chikkamagalur.
The second phase of Lok Sabha polls is underway in 12 states and 1 union territory on Thursday. With 95 Lok Sabha seats in the fray and 52 of them belonging to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, phase two is a battle for the southern vote. Tamil Nadu, where all 38 Lok Sabha seats are going to polls, is where the BJP-AIADMK-PMK alliance is clashing with DMK-Congress duo.