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Cong MP Ambarish retires from poll politics

November 13, 2008 13:35 IST

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Popular Kannada film star and Congress MP from Mandya, Ambarish has decided not to contest any more elections, including the next Lok Sabha polls, as part of his resolve to stay away from "poll politics".

"The decision does not mean that I will quit active politics. I will not be contesting any elections hereafter, including the bypoll to the Maddur assembly seat", Ambarish told PTI in Mandya.

Ambarish is the second leader from Congress in Karnataka to opt out of contest in the next year Lok Sabha election after its senior leader R L Jalappa, who represents Chikkaballapur.

The decision of Ambarish, who won the Mandya Lok Sabha seat thrice, is seen as a setback to Congress which will have a tough task to look for a candidate who could replace the actor-turned politician.

His ignominious defeat from Srirangapatna constituency in the assembly elections held in May to Ramesh Babu of the Janata Dal-Secular appeared to have been the major factor that prompted him to decide on taking 'sanyas' from poll scene.

Ambarish, who was a Congress Union minister two years ago, represents the dominant Vokkaliga community in the state. He, however, quit the Lok Sabha to protest the final verdict of the Cauvery water disputes tribunal. His resignation sent to party high command is yet to be accepted.

Ambarish said money played a major role in elections now and it was one of the reasons for his decision not to contest polls.

Ambarish, who was in Janata Dal, joined the Congress in 1999 and was re-elected in that election. He successfully contested the 2004 Parliament polls also.

Jalappa has already declared his intention to quit active politics soon. The veteran backward class leader has cited his age as one of the reasons for retirement.

Jalappa said he would resign his Lok Sabha membership the day the Election Commission announced the date for bye-election to eight assembly segments in Karnataka.

Seven MLAs -- four from JDS and three from Congress -- had resigned their assembly membership and joined BJP after the party formed its first ever government in the south in the state. In Maddur, JD-S member M S Siddaraju passed away, necessitating the bypoll.

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