Bengaluru South Lok Sabha constituency: It’s battle of perceptions in this BJP bastion

According to a BJP worker, despite disgruntlement and the Congress’ narratives, the BJP in the south has its own vote base which cannot be exploited

April 22, 2024 09:53 pm | Updated April 23, 2024 02:47 pm IST - Bengaluru

Sowmya Reddy

Sowmya Reddy | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

 

The Congress’ “chombu” metaphor that underscores the state’s simmering discontent over perceived neglect by the central government, and the communal narrative propagated by the BJP, has set the stage for a charged battle between Congress’ Sowmya Reddy and incumbent MP from the BJP, Tejasvi Surya in Bengaluru South constituency, which has been a BJP fortress since 1991. 

A deep dive into the chatter among the workers of the political parties and voters divulge various factors at play beyond the key narratives, among them the disgruntlement among former councillors of the BJP, the alleged inaccessibility of Ms. Reddy, the popularity of Mr. Surya and Ramalinga Reddy, Ms. Sowmya’s father. 

According to a BJP worker, while Mr. Surya has an edge considering that this is the stronghold of the party, it is not going to be a cakewalk for him. A few former councillors in the constituency, which has eight assembly constituencies, are unhappy with Mr. Surya for not taking them into confidence. There are many in the party who still believe that former MP late Ananth Kumar’ spouse Tejaswini Ananth Kumar is a better candidate. Mr. Suya is also confident of victory as he thinks his national image would help in the polls.

Another BJP worker said despite disgruntlement and the Congress’ narratives, the BJP in the south has its own vote base which cannot be exploited. “The voters here are ardent supporters of PM Modi. Be it Surya or anyone else, they will bank on the same. The people here will vote in the interest of the nation.”

On the other hand, Ramesh, a resident from Basavanagudi, said Ramalinga Reddy enjoys fair popularity in southern Bengaluru, but his daughter has failed to reach the expectations of the electorate. He said when she was MLA in Jayanagar, she was inaccessible for most part of her stint. “This was the key reason for her to lose. On the other hand, Mr. Surya, although not easily available to the people, has mastered the art of putting a display that he has been working for the people here. He has a knack for claiming credit for works which were implemented using central government funds. This is a battle of perception this time and who manages to convince the voters a day before the poll has an edge,” he said. 

Tejasvi Surya.

Tejasvi Surya. | Photo Credit: HANDOUT E MAIL

Mr. Ramalinga Reddy, talking to The Hindu, said apart from Basavanagudi assembly constituency, in other segments too, the Congress is gaining. “We are reaching out to the voters informing them how the central government has done injustice to the state by not sharing the tax revenue in a fair manner. The centre’s delay in approving the Mekedatu project has contributed to the drinking water crisis in Bengaluru. The BJP has given chombu to the people. This will make voters reject the BJP candidate here this time,” he said.

According to sources close to Mr. Surya, his campaign highlights the work executed by him here and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His office said the voters are seeing how under the Congress rule, law and order have failed, as shown by the incidents at Rameshwaram Cafe, during Ramanavami and in Hubballi. “The voters will not subscribe to the lies peddled by the Congress and Sowmya Reddy is not known to many in the constituency. The Congress giving ticket to daughter of an incumbent minister has not gone down well with the voters,” said one of his supporters. 

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