Surya’s rise ruffles state BJP

Last Updated 26 March 2019, 20:21 IST

Advocate Tejasvi Surya L S on Tuesday filed his nomination as the BJP’s candidate for Bangalore South amid shock and an undercurrent of resentment.

Surya was chosen over Tejaswini, the widow of the saffron party’s south India face and former Union minister, the late Ananth Kumar, who represented Bangalore South in the Lok Sabha for a record six times, making it a BJP bastion.

Surya, 28, proceeded to file his nomination papers through a rally attended by scores of supporters, even as a section of leaders and party cadre appeared to be in a fit of pique.

Tejaswini was the only candidate the state BJP had recommended to the party’s central leadership. “It is shocking for all of them (party workers) and even to me. But I have been telling them and myself that now is the time we show we are a party with a difference and to show maturity,” Tejaswini said and hailed Surya’s choice.

Earlier in the day, Surya had to face the ire of Tejaswini’s supporters when he went to her house.

According to sources, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological parent, pushed the candidature of Surya, a Brahmin who has been associated with the organisation since childhood. Surya is a close relative of the party’s Basavanagudi legislator L A Ravi Subramanya and is said to have found support from BJP national joint general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh.

An ardent supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and outspoken Hindu nationalist, Surya was seen as a successor to Ananth Kumar, whose death left a void in Bangalore South.

However, a section of leaders has questioned Surya’s choice. “The sentiment is that he wasn’t more deserving than Tejaswini, who was more visible and acceptable through her social work. Also, we are not sure if Surya has made any significant contribution towards the party’s organisation, like helping us win an election somewhere,” a youth leader said.

BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa said he had no idea why Surya was picked. “We sent only one name, but I don’t know what happened in Delhi at the last minute,” he said. The party’s Padmanabhanagar legislator R Ashoka, too, said he did not know why Surya was chosen. “But we will work for whoever the party has given the ticket.”

At the time of filing nomination, Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Chickpet MLA Uday Garudachar and BJP city president P N Sadashiva were present with Surya.

The Congress, which has fielded senior leader B K Hariprasad in Bangalore South, too was puzzled with the BJP’s choice. “Ananth Kumar was BJP’s tallest leader and his wife was probably more popular. The way Tejaswini has been treated is unfortunate,” Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao said. “It’s a big betrayal.”

(Published 26 March 2019, 19:25 IST)

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