BENGALURU: Bharatiya Janata Party’s surprise pick for Bangalore South, Tejasvi Surya, has a rather surprising take on the two mainstream Left parties of India -- the CPM and CPI -- which have been part and parcel of parliamentary democracy, “their ideology is anti-national”.Asked if he considered elected chief minister of Kerala, CPM’s Pinarayi Vijayan, and former Tripura CM Manik Sarkar “anti-national”, Surya quipped, “They may be good humans, but communists parties’ ideology is anti-national.”
In a candid conversation with TNIE Talks on Thursday, the 28-year-old first-time contestant of Lok Sabha election from Bangalore South, a stronghold of late BJP veteran HN Ananth Kumar, said he has, in fact, been mentored by Kumar and sees him as his role model. Surya’s candidature in place of Tejaswini Ananth Kumar had created a mini furore in the BJP state unit. In the 40-minute interaction at the Express office, Tejasvi shared his experiences with the old guard of the BJP, the nuances of being in electoral politics, why he thinks there is nothing wrong in being a Narendra Modi fan and what, according to him, is being “anti-national”.
“It is not anti-national to criticise the government but one can’t call for violence against the state. I think that people who do not believe in constitutional values, freedom of expression, thought and religion –whichever ideology is exclusive – do not represent the soul of India,” he said.
He insisted that the old guard of the BJP was strongly rallying behind him, despite some perceived discomfort. “R Ashoka teaches me the dynamics of the constituency, Satish Reddy introduces me to key people and locations that I am not familiar with. They teach me small things like rolling down the window of my car to greet people. Uday Garudachar stopped me from drinking buttermilk from a packet, because he was afraid I would get a sore throat. All of these are small but important things,” Tejasvi said, urging that he was receiving the best grooming.
Even as he insisted that there was a need to reinvent the way Hindutva was being looked at, he referred to himself as a “thinking politician”, whose thoughts evolve. “One of the reasons I was considered for the party leadership is because I am a thinking politician. My thoughts may evolve and it just shows that I have been engaging with policy issues from a young age,” Surya said. He is unabashed in his liking for Modi. “When was the last time you saw youngsters wear T-shirts supporting their PM? There is nothing wrong with being a Modi fan,” he said.