Anti-Modi stance should not become anti-India: Tejasvi

It was Prathap Simha (right) in 2014, it is Tejasvi Surya now. The BJP caught both of them young.

His millennial reaction, ‘OMG OMG!!! I can’t believe this’, on being nominated as the Bangalore South constituency has gone viral on Twitter. Suddenly in the spotlight, he is also drawing attention for his radical Hindutva thoughts. As an outspoken proponent of Hindutva, 27-year-old Tejasvi Surya says that his candidature is in line with the BJP’s plan to infuse fresh blood into its ranks. He speaks to Akram Mohammed about his candidature, his controversial remarks and his political ideologies. Excerpts

How does it feel to be the youngest candidate to be nominated for these crucial Lok Sabha polls?

It was extremely overwhelming and unexpected. But the greatness of my party is that it reposes such immense faith in karyakartas like me. This is a testimony to the vibrant internal democracy of the BJP. I am grateful to the central and state leadership to have considered me worthy of such a task. I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude and had a sleepless night.

Can you explain your journey till here since your association with ABVP?

For many years, I have been involved with ABVP, RSS and BJP and worked in various capacities. We are all working for principles. Our party is not like a corporate company with a progressive career path. We work with the BJP for the joy of working for an ideology.

What about differences within the party about your candidature?

It is not true. There are no differences at all regarding my candidature. Everyone is together and supporting me in the coming elections.

Your candidature pipped that of Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, who was the front-runner till the last moment? Why is that?

Such decisions are not taken unilaterally in the party. All leaders of the party will be consulted before a decision is made by the high command. All leaders have extended their support. We will win the elections by a big margin.

Why do you think you were selected as the candidate?

You should actually pose the question to the high command. But what I feel is that the high command selected me like it had chosen an young Ananth Kumar in 1996. The speciality of BJP is that it is an organic and dynamic organisation. For it to remain so, new blood has to be infused in the form of young leaders. BJP has been fielding young candidates in all elections. Previously, Pratap Simha was fielded in 2014. In 2018 elections too, several Yuva Morcha leaders were fielded by the party in Bengaluru, Hassan and other areas. I think that this is why I was selected.

Your old tweets are now being dug up. In one of the tweets, you have expressed your reservations against the Women’s Reservation Bill. You’d said you would dread the day when it is enacted. Are you of the same view now?

I don't remember the tweet. Since morning, I have been occupied with filing my nomination. Therefore, I don't know what tweets they have dug up and are trying to twist them out of context. But I have the intelligence to respond to all such tweets.

What about your speech where you say Anti-Modi is Anti-India, which has also become viral after your candidature was announced? Does it mean whoever doesn’t vote for Modi is Anti-India?

The context in which I made the statement is very clear. All the hatred or opposition to Modi has crossed all levels of sanity today and has taken the shape of hatred towards India. If you are hating and opposing Narendra Modi, you have the right to do so in a democracy. However, the concern here is when the opposition to Modi takes the form of hatred against India. These statements are in turn used by our enemy countries. In that context, I said that in 2019 elections, if you are with Modi, you are definitely with India. But if you are against Modi, your opposition to Modi is taking the shape of opposition to India, which is very dangerous. Therefore, I am not apologetic about the statement and I stand by it. 

Age: 28
Occupation: Advocate
- State general secretary of BJP Yuva Morcha
- Nephew of Ravi Subramanya, BJP MLA from Basavanagudi constituency
- Co-founder of Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence and Arise India
- Led the digital communications team for BJP Karnataka during 2018 polls
- Visited UK, Russia and Israel as part of Young Political Leaders of India delegation
- Filed complaint against historian Ramachandra Guha for his remarks linking Sangh Parivar to Gauri Lankesh murder.
- Alumnus of Bangalore Institute of Legal Studies

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Anti-Modi stance should not become anti-India: Tejasvi

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