By N.B. Hombal
Bengaluru, Jan 10 (IANS) Lakya Suryanarayana Tejasvi, better known as Tejasvi Surya, who is presently heading the ruling BJPs youth wing Bharatiya Yuva Morcha, is no novice in politics as from a very young age he had developed a taste for electioneering.
Surya won his maiden Lok Sabha election from the Bengaluru South parliamentary constituency in 2019 at the age 28. He became the party’s national youth wing president at the age of 29. His rise in politics has been phenomenal so far. His fiery speeches during elections have endeared his hardcore Hindutva followers. His campaign in West Bengal and Hyderabad are cases in point.
Since 1991, Bengaluru South has always been a BJP bastion. Late Ananth Kumar, the former Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers and Parliamentary Affairs, was a sitting MP from the constituency for 22 years – from 1996 till his death in 2018. Before him, BJP’s K.V. Gowda won the 1991 parliamentary election from the same seat, becoming Bengaluru South’s first BJP MP.
When IANS sought to know about Surya’s rise in politics in such a short span of time, a senior RSS worker who had seen him growing, said that Surya took his school elections very seriously when he fought his first election for the post of an assistant head boy in Class VII.
“Surya emerged victorious as he was the only one who took the campaign seriously – he printed pamphlets, did powerpoint presentations in the auditorium, and even had his own symbol, a lion,” the RSS leader stated.
Besides this, he also groomed himself in RSS shakha and imbibed everything it taught him.
“He wears his nationalism on his sleeves. He showed glimpses of this by selling his own paintings on the pavements of Basavanagudi in 1998 to raise funds for the Kargil war victims. He did it when he was just nine years old and was studying in Class IV. I think at that time he must have raised more than Rs 1,000 which he handed over to his school principal. It was because of these characteristics that he has been able to achieve what his peers could not,” another RSS functionary told IANS.
The functionary added that the Karnataka RSS invested a lot of time with the aim to groom him as the Gen-X leader even much before anyone even thought about it.
“A teacher may be willing to teach the students, but it is equally important that a student imbibes it thoroughly. That is where Surya has excelled so far. Anything that RSS taught him, he absorbed it as a litmus paper and groomed himself as an unabashed vocal proponent of the Hindutva ideology,” the source explained.
On many occasions and through his interviews, he has proved his point. His letter to the Bengaluru civic body, demanding it to overturn its decision to rename roads after Muslim personalities, is the latest case is point.
Quite a few of his tweets have landed him in controversy, but he is not deterred; he has no qualms in calling himself a communal fanatic. One of his tweets from 2018 read, “Call me a bigot, communal fanatic or whatever. But the singular reason for BJP’s defeat in Jayanagar is the complete consolidation of Muslim vote. Look at the below numbers from Gurappanapalya, a Muslim locality. BJP must ‘really’ become a Hindu party and not just be perceived as one.” Such tweets have helped him garner his share of fans.
A third RSS functionary added that his rise at the national level coincided with the BJP losing many top leaders, such as Sushma swaraj and Arun Jaitley, while several others like Uma Bharti and Murli Manohar Joshi faded from people’s memory.
“The BJP saw potential in Surya, who on the floor of the Lok Sabha spoke very well on a number of topics. His articulation of thought on the floor of House certainly attracted attention. Thus, the party’s national leadership might have thought that he would be ideally suitable in their scheme of things. They wanted someone who can articulate in English. He reaches out to English speaking masses. Now he has also picked Hindi very well,” the source added.
Throwing more light on Surya’s rise, BJP state executive committee member M.H. Sridhar said that Surya trained himself very well and mastered the art of articulation and presentation of ideology in a meticulous manner.
“He became very active on social media platforms at a very young age and is able to connect with the youngsters. His phenomenal rise in politics is only because he has gone through the RSS grind, and not just because of his paternal uncle, Ravisubramanya, who is a four-time MLA from the Basavanagudi constituency,” he explained.
Former BJP media cell convenor S. Prakash said that the RSS grooming makes all the difference, besides, Surya is also a very fluent speaker in English.
“He caught the eyes of the top leaders of the party when he became very popular during national debates on TV channels. He articulated our party’s ideology properly. Add to this, his education as a law graduate has also contributed a lot to his rise.
“He got a very early break in politics by becoming an MP from Bengaluru South following the sudden demise of one of the BJP’s stalwart leaders, H.N. Ananth Kumar. The best thing about him is that he has not stopped at this poin… he is working hard to become one of the top rung leaders of our party in the future. He needs to work like this for at least another two to three decades to stay at the top for a longer period,” Prakash said.