In the heat of campaigning, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has hit out at Kannada superstar Yash campaigning for multilingual south Indian actor Sumalatha Ambareesh, an Independent contesting in the high-profile Mandya Lok Sabha constituency against his son Nikhil Gowda of the ruling Janata Dal (Secular), a party official said on Wednesday.
"It is owing to producers like me investing in films that actors like Yash got in to tinsel world and flourished. But real life is different from reel life," said Mr Kumaraswamy in Kannada on the last day of campaign on Tuesday at Mandya, about 100 km from Bengaluru, for today's polling.
HD Kumaraswamy is a Kannada film producer-turned-politician.
"The Chief Minister was reacting to an allegation by Yash that 'JD(S)is a party of thieves (kallaru party)' while campaigning for Sumalatha along with another Kannada superstar, Darshan, and veteran Kannada producer Rockline Venkatesh. Kumaraswamy said actors like Yash should not belittle producers and godfathers who give break to likes of him by investing in films," a party official told IANS from Mandya.
Nikhil, 28, is an upcoming Kannada actor with two to three films under his belt. He is the grandson of JD-(S) chief HD Deve Gowda, who is contesting from Tumkur Lok Sabha seat at the age of 86 years.
Asked if the Chief Minister had threatened to spoil Yash's career by saying he would tell producers not to invest on him, the official said Mr Kumaraswamy's remarks were in a specific context and in response to what the young actor was claiming to be.
"Kumaraswamy is a man of heart. He never harms anyone or believes in causing loss to his worst detractors. What he said in his poll speech was successful actors should not forget their origins and have gratitude to those who help them to come up in their career," added the official quoting the Chief Minister.
Yash had acted in a Kannada film called "Lucky" produced by HD Kumaraswamy along with actress Radhika Pandit.
"Without producers like us, stars like Yash or Darshan will not survive. Do not believe in everything you see in films, as reality of daily life is different from reel life," added Mr Kumaraswamy.
But Yash denied calling the JD(S) a party of thieves.
"I never called anyone a thief or any party as a party of the thieves. If anyone proves I made such a statement, I will bow down, Yash told reporters later.