BJP’s Tejasvi Surya defeats Congress veteran BK Hariprasad in Bengaluru South

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BJP’s Tejasvi Surya defeats Congress veteran BK Hariprasad in Bengaluru South

In one of the most closely watched and controversial poll battles in Karnataka, 28-year-old Tejasvi Surya from BJP won in the Bengaluru South constituency by a huge margin of 3,31,192 votes. Defeating Rajya Sabha MP and veteran Congress leader BK Hariprasad, Tejasvi Surya has managed to retain the bastion of the BJP in Bengaluru. Tejasvi Surya secured 7,39,229 votes, while BK Hariprasad won 4,08,037 votes.

Handpicked by the national BJP leadership to contest from this crucial constituency, Tejasvi was not the natural choice for the BJP’s state leadership. Initially, Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, the wife of late Union Minister Ananth Kumar, was the candidate chosen. However, in an eleventh-hour decision, due to the backing of the RSS, Tejasvi was chosen to contest from Bengaluru South.

While the state BJP leadership rooted for Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, RSS leaders in the state like BL Santhosh had backed Tejasvi Surya's candidature from the constituency. With a sizable population of Brahmins and upper caste Hindus in the region, Bengaluru South has been the base for RSS operations in the city for over two decades. The constituency also has a large chunk of Vokkaliga and OBC communities, who have leaned towards the RSS and BJP.

In order to maintain the voter base, the BJP had decided that it would give importance to supporting the RSS in the region by fielding Tejasvi Surya.

The BJP has retained the Bengaluru South seat since 1991 when its candidate K Venkatagiri Gowda won the elections. In 1996, Ananth Kumar, who passed away last year, won the seat and ensured that he won all subsequent elections ever since.  

Tejasvi’s candidature has been mired in controversy, as soon after he was fielded by the BJP, his old tweets surfaced, which many found problematic. For instance, he had openly advocated for making BJP an outright Hindu party and consolidating the Hindu vote, and had said that anyone who didn’t follow PM Modi was anti-national. He also received flak for his opposition to reservation for women in Parliament and was accused by an entrepreneur from Bengaluru of physical harassment, who later deleted her tweets and asked for the matter to be laid to rest.

A former Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Yuva Morcha leader, Tejasvi participated in the ‘Mangalore Chalo’ bike rally ahead of the Karnataka state Assembly elections in 2018. Tejasvi Surya is an alumnus of National College (Jayanagar) and National Law School of India in Bengaluru.