Tejasvi Surya vs Sowmya Reddy: The battle of youths in Bangalore South

Interestingly, Sowmya’s father Ramalinga Reddy represents BTM Layout, while BJP candidate Tejasvi Surya’s uncle Ravi Subramanya is Basavanagudi MLA.
Congress candidate Sowmya Reddy, daughter of Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy, is pitted against BJP sitting MP Tejasvi Surya.
Congress candidate Sowmya Reddy, daughter of Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy, is pitted against BJP sitting MP Tejasvi Surya.File photo

BENGALURU: In the battle of youth at the prestigious Bangalore South Lok Sabha constituency, Congress candidate Sowmya Reddy, daughter of Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy, is pitted against BJP sitting MP Tejasvi Surya.

Considered a BJP stronghold, Congress is making a hard bid this time to break the saffron party’s winning streak of 33 years. BJP has won eight consecutive Lok Sabha elections here and is confident of winning the ninth one too.

The startup hub Koramanagala and IT hub Bommanahalli are part of the constituency, which has eight Assembly segments. Of them, Basavanagudi, Jayanagar, Bommanahalli, Padmanabhanagar and Chickpet are represented by BJP MLAs, while Vijayanagar, Govindarajanagar and BTM Layout have Congress MLAs.

Interestingly, Sowmya’s father Ramalinga Reddy represents BTM Layout, while BJP candidate Tejasvi Surya’s uncle Ravi Subramanya is Basavanagudi MLA. A powerful and influential politician, Ramalinga Reddy has a strong grip over Jayanagar and BTM Layout constituencies and also neighbouring segments. Ensuring the victory of his daughter is now a prestige issue for him.

Both youngsters -- Sowmya is 41 years old, while Surya is 33 -- they are politically active at the national level in their respective parties. Sowmya is the general secretary of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee and All-India Mahila Congress, while Suryva is the BJP Yuva Morcha Wing national president. Surya is a bachelor in law, while Sowmya has done MS in Environmental Technology.

While Sowmya expects maximum support from BTM Layout, Vijayanagar and Govindarajanagar, Surya is depending on Basavanagudi, Bommanahalli, Padmanabhanagar and Jayanagar for victory. Though the constituency has strong supporters for both BJP and Congress, JDS hardly has a presence here.

Being part of core Bengaluru, the constituency has voters from Schedule Castes, Vokkaligas, Brahmins, Muslims and other communities. Tejasvi, a Brahmin, and Sowmya, a Reddy (OBC), are also pinning hopes on support from their respective communities.

The constituency has seen 13 elections since 1951 (including when it was part of the then Mysuru State). Of them, BJP has won seven, Janatha Party three and Congress two. Previously, the Grand Old Party has tried various tactics to win this seat, but to no avail. It fielded veteran BK Hariprasad in 2019, senior leader Krishna Byregowda in 2009 and non-politician Nandan Nilekani, an Infosys founder, in 2014, but all of them could not take on the BJP juggernaut.

But Congress hopes that it could be different this time, what with the influence of veteran Ramalinga Reddy over South Bengaluru. Sowmya too is a familiar face in the Jayanagar Assembly constituency having served it for one term from 2014 and losing the 2019 election by a margin of mere 16 votes.

Though the constituency has seen elite candidates, the polling percentage here has always been among the lowest in the state. It recorded 53.47% voter turnout in 2019, 55.75% in 2014, 44.7% in 2009, 49.4 per cent in 2004.

The constituency has 23,17,472 registered voters. Of them 11.95 are male, 11.21 lakh female and 399 others.

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