It has been anti-Congress since 1977 except in 1989 when former Chief Minister, the late R Gundu Rao won from the constituency. But Bengaluru South has been painted saffron for most years with former Union minister, the late Ananth Kumar winning six terms from it 1996 onwards.
In the last 2014 Lok Sabha poll, Mr Kumar defeated IT magnate, Nandan Nilekani by over two lakh votes. And this parliamentary poll, the BJP stronghold will see 28-year-old Tejaswi Surya of the party take on Congress veteran, B.K. Hariprasad.
Considering that his selection was a surprise and he is relatively inexperienced in politics, there has been some scepticism about his ability to carry on with the party’s winning streak in the constituency. But insiders in the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), which is believed to be backing him strongly, insist he is a promising politician of the future.
“I believe that Tejaswi can carry forward the legacy of Ananth Kumar, who was both approachable and a good worker. Moreover, he is confident and shares an easy rapport with the people,” said Mr Praveen Patavardhan, co-coordinator of the Vishwa Samvada Kendra. In his view, should Mr Surya even lose, he will have ample time to rise again to the challenge. “We all want him to win, but even if he loses he can strike back later as he is still young and has a long way to go. So this a win-win situation,” he contended.
But while the young candidate has been making the rounds of the constituency already, not everyone seems to be happy with his fiery speeches. “Running down a critic as anti-national or calling the election a test of the people’s patriotism does not sound right coming from a person as talented as Tejaswi. As a young voter, I don’t like his choice of words, it scares me. Mr Kumar was different and let even his critics have their say. I want an approachable and reasonable MP,” said 24-year-old Amit, a young voter of the constituency who seemed taken aback by Mr Surya’s rhetoric.
But political observers believe that he has a winning chance from the constituency as of Bengaluru South’s eight assembly segments, the BJP holds five and the Congress, three. Besides, the constituency has a mix of Brahmin and Muslim voters in Gurappanapalaya. But on the other hand , others believe Congress veteran, B.K. Hariprasad who lost to Mr Ananth Kumar by 65,000 votes in 1999, cannot be written off either.
“In politics one cannot write off anybody. Hariprasad knows the city well and has been in active politics for almost two decades. Though Tejawai has a better chance given that Bengaluru south is a BJP bastion, there could be a shift in the voter's mind,” said Mr Chaitaiyna, a local businessman, who, however, admits to being a Modi supporter. “I will certainly vote for the BJP as I want to give Prime Minister Narendra Modi a second chance. Also, former Union minister, Ananth Kumar did some exemplary work in the constituency . So it is natural for voters to go with the party if not with the current candidate,” he added.
Ananth kumar’s legacy lives on
He may be gone but the late Union minister, H.N. Ananth Kumar’s contribution to the city lives on in people’s memory, especially Bengaluru’s inclusion in the Golden Quadilateral project. As civil aviation minister, he gave a facelift to the HAL airport and signed an MoU to create a world class international airport, which culminated in the Kempegowda International Airport on the outskirts of the city.
“His contributions both as a Union minister and MP are well known. He did tremendous work and this was precisely why he was liked by politicians cutting across party lines. He was instrumental in getting the Cauvery Phase IV too for the city,” observes Mr Ameen Pasha, a resident of Banashankari.
Recalling the constrution of houses and community toilets under the Valmik Ambedkar Awas Yojana (VAMBAY), he points out that over 10,000 houses were not only built in Bengaluru and but also registered in the name of women. Mr Ananthkumar is also remembered for cutting the price of knee implants by 69 per cent....