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Karnataka polls: Kannada stars struggle to shine

People in Karnataka are generally crazy about film stars, but this adoration has not tempted many actors to enter politics. And the few who are contesting in the May 5 assembly polls are having a tough time.

The most prominent actor in the fray is Congress candidate MH Ambareesh, who was a junior minister for a short period in the first United Progressive Alliance government at New Delhi. Known as "Rebel Star" in his reel life, Ambareesh (61), is battling the strongest rebellion against him in his 15-year-old political career in his home district of Mandya, about 80 km from Bangalore.

Opposing his candidature from Mandya constituency, district party unit chief MS Atmananda has quit while several other leaders have said they will stay from campaign. Ambareesh is now desperately trying to woo the rebels to avoid suffering his third defeat since 2008.

Ambareesh was elected to the Lok Sabha from Mandya for the first time in 1998 and re-elected in 1999 and 2004. Since then his political fortunes have been on the decline and he tasted electoral defeat twice in a year.

Still being Lok Sabha member, he lost from Srirangapatna assembly constituency in Mandya district in the 2008 assembly poll. Next year he was defeated in the Lok Sabha poll from the Mandya seat.

Ambareesh is the most prominent Kannada film actor who has been in electoral politics since 1998 while most of his contemporaries and the present younger lot of heroes and heroines have been shunning, though some of them campaign for political parties.

Three women actors were to contest the May 5 poll, one from Congress and two from BSR Congress floated by B Sriramulu, a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister and loyalist of jailed mining baron G Janardhana Reddy.

However, only two are now in the fray - Veteran actress Umashree (56), of Congress contesting the poll for the second time, and Pooja Gandhi (29), from BSR Congress, in fray for the first time.

Read more about: ramya, ambareesh, tara, rakshita, pooja gandhi
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