An RSS swayamsevak and lawyer at the Karnataka High Court, 28-year-old Tejasvi Surya is the winning candidate from Bangalore South constituency. Known for being the General Secretary of the Karnataka state Yuva Morcha, Surya has also been part of BJP’s national social media team. He is also the nephew of Ravi Subramanya, the BJP MLA from Basavanagudi.
Bangalore South parliamentary constituency is a BJP stronghold. For the longest time, it was held by six-time MP late Ananth Kumar. The seat had remained vacant since Kumar’s demise last November. It was widely reported that BJP’s national leadership had chosen Surya over Ananth Kumar’s wife Tejaswini Ananth Kumar.
This election, 25 candidates had contested from Bangalore South, of whom 11 represented political parties and 14 were independents. The battle here was mainly between Surya and veteran Congress politician B K Hari Prasad. Vatal Nagaraj from the Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha had also contested from here. In the election, Surya got over three lakh votes more than Hari Prasad.
Here are the candidates who won the most votes, as per data from the Election Commission of India:
|Candidate||Political party||Votes secured||Percentage vote share|
|Tejasvi Surya||Bharatiya Janata Party||7,39,229||62.2%|
|B K Hariprasad||Indian National Congress||4,08,037||34.33%|
|Ahoratra Natesha Polepalli||Uttama Prajaakeeya Party||6136||0.52%|
Surya holds two degrees – BAL (Bachelor of Academic Law) and LLB from Bangalore Institute of Legal Studies. He has disclosed his assets to be worth Rs 13.46 lakhs. There are no criminal cases against him.
Surya, born in 1990, would be the youngest MP in the 17th Lok Sabha. With 54,000 followers on Twitter, he is known to be quite vocal on social media.
He is Founder and President of the NGO Arise India. Started in 2008, the mission of Arise India is to work in the education and rural development sectors, and to create a strong youth vote bank. Surya has written columns for IndiaFacts, an online platform that claims to counter “the mainstream media narrative about India”. He is Co-founder of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence, an organisation that runs projects related to education and entrepreneurship.
Surya had won national recognition for his leadership of the state BJP’s digital communications during the assembly election last year. He was also part of BJP’s ‘Mangalore Chalo’ rally in 2017, to protest the alleged murders of RSS workers in Dakshina Kannada region. He had organised and addressed BJP rallies across the country during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign as well.
Surya has strongly advocated for a “Hindu Rashtra”, and for BJP to “unapologetically be a party for Hindus”. He has also described Hindu philosophy as universal and accepting, and others as predatory. In a series of controversial statements, Surya has branded those who don’t support Modi as “anti-India” and “anti-national”.
An earlier tweet of Surya’s, saying that he “dreaded” women’s reservation in parliament, has also been widely reported in the media. Speaking to The News Minute in March end, Surya had said that he did not remember when he had tweeted this. However, speaking to Citizen Matters, Surya said his views had changed, and that women’s reservation was necessary as an intervention in the short term.
After his candidature was announced, Surya got an injunction from a Bengaluru local court, restraining 49 media outlets and platforms like Whatsapp, from publishing any defamatory statements against him. He had sought the order after some media outlets reported about a woman’s social media post alleging Surya had abused her. Outlets like Scroll.in, Indian Express and The Hindu published opinion pieces/editorials on why the court order was problematic.
Promises and plans
“There is just one primary agenda in this national election – it is to re-elect Narendra Modi as the prime minister and continue the growth of India as a secure prosperous modern nation,” Surya said in a recent interview to Money Control.
Speaking to Citizen Matters, Surya had said that he believed in a comprehensive, exclusive legislation for the governance of Bengaluru. “I am a votary for (in favour of) more autonomy for local bodies,” he said. He also said that he would speak in parliament for the inclusion of technology in governance.
Surya also promised to be a responsible parliamentarian, “I am going to be the voice of the city. I am going to be speaking on issues of this culture, this land, the soil of this state, issues related to its borders, water, language, infrastructure, the future of the youth of the state.”
See also: Tejasvi Surya’s profile/interview