Why Bangalore South might be a prestige battle for BJP President

In a war there are many battles, but some battles hold special meaning and purpose for various reasons. Well in the electoral war of Lok Sabha Elections 2019, one such prestige battle might be the electoral battle for Bangalore South, a traditional BJP stronghold.

BJP surprised and shocked not only the political pundits and the Bangalore south electorate, but also the BJP local cadre by naming firebrand and charismatic youth leader Tejasvi Surya as their candidate for Bangalore South parliamentary constituency. Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, wife of Late Union Minister Ananth Kumar was widely expected to be nominated. It is to be noted that Ananth Kumar was the BJP political heavyweight who represented Bangalore South six times in the parliament on a trot and had never faced electoral defeat.

Congress has fielded its veteran hand Mr. BK Hariprasad who is Rajya Sabha MP. He had lost the Bangalore South election to Ananth Kumar way back in 1999 when Tejasvi Surya was only 9 years old.

Hariprasad ran into a major controversy recently when he alleged the ghastly Pulwama terrorist attack to be “match-fixing” between PM Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan. His comments drew wide condemnation from across the political spectrum. He refused to apologise for his comments and opted to brazen it out, with the Congress looking the other side.

Hariprasad does seem to have a penchant for controversies. Back in January 2019, he mocked BJP President Amit Shah who was recuperating from Swine Flu at that time, making a crass remark alleging Shah got the “pig flu” as he tried to topple the Congress-JD(S) govt.

Politicians are not known to forget personal barbs especially those concerning their health that easily. And, it was evident from the fact that Amit Shah personally led a massive rally and a 1.5km road show in Banashankari gathering support for BJP’s candidate Tejasvi Surya.

With his personal weight thrown in, Shah has managed to hit two birds with one stone. Firstly, he rallied the local BJP leaders who were miffed with nomination not going to Tejaswini and brought them to campaign aggressively for Tejasvi’s win. Secondly, he has sent a strong indirect signal to the opposing Congress candidate BK Hariprasad clearly drawing the battle lines; who till then was jubilant over the prospects of an “easy victory” owing to the initial despondency in BJP rank and file over the surprise nomination.

With backing a young, well-educated and promising leader like Tejasvi Surya, BJP has not only given a strong message to the voters that it will not shy away from roping in fresh blood but has also reiterated its tag line of being the “Party with a difference.”

Note: Bangalore South goes to vote on April 18th, 2019.

Updated as on 23rd May: Tejasvi Surya wins Bangalore South.