When Tejasvi Surya, the youngest contestant at 28, heard the news of his selection as the BJP candidate from Bengaluru South, his first reaction was: “OMG! OMG! I cant believe this.”
“The PM of the largest democracy and president of the largest political party have reposed faith in a 28 year old to represent them in a prestigious constituency like B’South. This can happen only in my BJP,” he tweeted.
The reaction did not come as a surprise as he was nowhere in contention for the seat which was expected to go to Mrs Tejaswani, wife of the late BJP leader from the constituency and member of the ModI government, Ananth Kumar.
In fact, the importance of the seat to the BJP can be gauged from the fact that Ananth Kumar had won for the sixth consecutive time from here in 2014.
The largely educated and savvy voters, mostly comprising the middle class and software engineers, had been favouring the late leader who had successfully managed to ward off a stiff challenge from Nandan Nilekeni of the Congress in 2014.
Till young Tejasvi’s name was announced late last night, speculation was rife that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might himself contest from here, in addition to Varanasi, of course.
The BJP leaders who were pushing for Modi to contest from Bengaluru were driven by the logic that it would help in mopping up a sizeable number of seats from the south, as a whole. The southern states collectively account for 130 seats with Karnataka alone sending 28 MPs to the Lok Sabha.
Mrs Tejaswani’s name, therefore, had been kept in ”abeyance” for a while, that is till the party leadership took a final call. To that extent, the young Tejasvi Surya’s name as the candidate from the constituency took everyone by surprise. Why, no one was more surprised than Tejasvi, a hard core BJP man and a lawyer to boot.
That the selection has not been smooth is evident from the protests that were held outside Mrs Tejaswini’s house in support of her candidature by a section of Ananth Kumar’s supporters. On her part, she did not allow any discontent, categorically asserting that the party was above everybody. She took pains to hide her disappointment, though, while supporting the BJP’s decision.
For the record, Tejasvi Surya has been involved with the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bajrang Dal and the BJP’s Yuva Morcha in addition to being the secretary of the party’s youth wing.
The youngster will be up against B K Hariprasad, the veteran Congress leader, who also filed his nomination on Tuesday.
While the BJP cadres welcome the entry of young Tejasvi Surya into the fray, the inevitability of discontent in the party workers who have been avowed supporters of the late Ananth Kumar cannot be undermined. They were all expecting Tejaswini Ananth Kumar to get the ticket and, so, cannot hide their emotions. The JD(S) announced the candidates for Bijapur and Uttara Kannada constituencies. Sunitha Devanand Chavan has been named for Bijapur and Anand Asnotikar for Uttara Kannada.