Tech-Savvy Swayamsevak Tejasvi Surya Set to Replace Ananth Kumar
(This story was first published on 26 March 2019 After Tejasvi Surya was announced the BJP’’s candidate from Bengaluru South. It has been republished from The Quint’s archives in light of Surya’s victory in the general assembly.)
Towards the fag end of his speech at an RSS event, which he diligently posted on his social media later, the 28-year-old lawyer-turned-politician declared that the left liberal will not like what he was about to say. “But... this election is a test of the common Indian’s patriotism. If you are with Modi, you are with India and if you are not with Modi, you are anti-India. That’s it.”
Meet Tejasvi Surya, the BJP’s candidate from Bengaluru South. He is a practicing lawyer at the Karnataka High Court, an RSS swayamsevak, the general secretary of the state Yuva morcha and also a part of the national social media team of the BJP. He will take on Congress’ BK Hariprasad in one of the most conservative constituencies in Bengaluru.
The Late Decision
Bengaluru South is considered a BJP bastion and a “safe seat”, since the party hasn’t lost since 1991. But the candidate for this constituency was announced post-midnight on 26 March, with only few hours left for the submission of the nomination.
As the discussion prolonged, sitting MLAs and senior leaders like Suresh Kumar and Ravi Subramanya, were considered for the seat. However, post-midnight, the decision made that Surya, the preferred candidate of BL Santosh-led RSS faction of the BJP in Karnataka, will be made the candidate.
Replacing Ananth Kumar
In 1996, Bengaluru South Lok Sabha constituency was held by BJP MP K Venkatagiri Gowda, a veteran. Although he was expecting a re-election, the BJP decided to bring in a young candidate to Bengaluru South.
The candidate was 37-year-old Ananth Kumar. The decision to give a newcomer the ticket was frowned upon by many in the party, pointing out that 37-year-old Ananth Kumar was inexperienced and an ‘outsider’ from Hubli. But to everyone’s surprise, Ananth Kumar defeated Varalakshmi, the widow of former chief minister R Gundu Rao.
Shocked, But Will Abide By Party, Says Tejaswini
On Tuesday morning, several supporters of Tejaswini Ananth Kumar had gathered in protest against the party’s decision to choose Tejasvi over Tejaswini. Though it seemed the party’s decision would backfire, Tejaswini made a public statement supporting the party’s choice.
Speaking to ANI, she said that although the party’s decision is ‘shocking,’ she should stand by the BJP. “It's shocking…but I stand with the party's decision. Let's not start asking questions. If we have to contribute to the country, then we have to work for Modi ji,” she said.
Hours later, Tejasvi Surya also paid a visit to Tejaswini Ananth Kumar to seek her blessings before filing his nomination.