Mr Tejasvi Surya brings a new hope to the voters of Bangalore South that some thing new can happen here if we elect him. But he is up against some challenges which he needs to negotiate effectively to come up victorious.
The candidature of Mr Tejasvi Surya was announced late and he has very little time to go around the constituency and establish rapport with the people. Many of the voters who were interviewed by a channel did say, “We have not even seen his face”.
The first requirement is therefore to make his face familiar to the voters of the constituency.
Apart from Mr Surya himself taking out a rally, we need volunteers to hold placards in every street corner and also go around in a beat in different streets so that no voter in the constituency complains that he does not know the face of Mr Tejasvi.
Secondly, the Bangalore south MP constituency consists of some assembly segments that are being held by opposition parties. Some of the voters feel that they are satisfied with the work done by the local MLA and there is no reason why they should not vote for the Congress/JDS candidate.
It is therefore necessary for Mr Tejasvi to adopt a twin strategy where by
a) He rides on the Modi factor and
b) At the same time develop a local focus to counter the opponents who draw their strength from being in the local politics for some time.
To some extent, the local leaders of BJP can help him in making up for his lack of local political visibility. But it appears that Mrs Tejasvini is still nursing her disappointment and finding it difficult to come out and openly support Mr Tejasvi.
Hence Mr Tejasvi needs to manage without the wholehearted support of the Anantakumar supporters. I expect that they would come around in the last few days of the campaign but it may be too late to make any difference at that time.
While BJP will pursue its “Vote for Tejasvi is a Vote for Modi to be the PM again”, principle, this may not be sufficient to win the election in Bangalore South this time.
The biggest strength of the opposition is that there is a local Government which has not yet acquired any anti incumbency tag and enjoys the Caste and Anti Modi Vote consolidation benefit.
Hence if the election is fought predominantly on local issues, it will be difficult for Mr Tejasvi to win over the assembly segments in which the local MLA may have a good reputation.
We heard some voters expressing their satisfaction of local MLAs in Hanumanta Nagar, Deepanjali Nagar etc. If we follow the trend of campaigning in Mandya and elsewhere, it is clear that this election will have a huge local issue impact which is not to the liking of BJP.
Everywhere it will be whether Deve Gowda and his family are dominating the State, whether the candidate is a Vokkaliga or Kuruba etc. These are all local issues which will have a powerful impact to neutralize the larger national issues. While the elite may discuss the national security, the Pakistani leanings of Rahul Gandhi etc, these may not be factors on which the voters will take a decision.
Build a Local Narrative
Hence Mr Tejasvi needs to build a “Local Narrative” in addition to whatever is being done now.
I feel that Mr Tejasvi has some idea in his mind but has not been able to structure, formulate and express it within the short time that is now available. In one of the recent discussion he used the term “New Bangalore” (Hosa Bengaluru). Here in lies the opportunity to bring a focus to the local issues within the national election.
When Modi introduced the “Smart City” concept, Bangalore was supposed to be the obvious choice to lead the “Smart City Campaign”. But it was unable to take the lead. During the last Yeddyurappa Government, Bangalore I had promoted a concept of Bangalore to be declared the “Cyber Security Capital” as an upgradation of the “Silicon City” or “IT Capital” etc. Had this been done, Bangalore would have been in a different orbit by now.
Of late Bangalore has even lost its place as a preferred place for setting up new projects/Startups. Other cities including Chennai or Hyderabad or Pune or Noida appear to have taken the lead.
Even the concept of “World Capital for Dispute Resolution for IT Industry” which was promoted with some of the local Government agencies did not find traction because the politicians did not have the vision. This would have pitted Bangalore against Singapore in perception of IT development.
These were all the missed opportunities for Bangalore to grow in the last 5 years of Modi Government when the local Government pursued a policy of hatred towards Mr Modi.
Now the opportunity is before Mr Tejasvi to take up the “Mission-New Bangalore” which should make Bangalore “Smarter and Better Bengaluru”.
The goal should be to use technology for a better life for citizens in Bangalore.
There is a lot of potential in
a making Bangalore Garbage Free with the introduction of schemes for converting garbage to organic manure,
b) improve the traffic management with smart traffic lights,
c) improve water supply perhaps with better effluent management system in big housing complexes,
d) make the frothing lakes look watery once again and so on.
I therefore request Mr Tejasvi to release his own short plan of action for “Mission-New Bangalore” and adopt “Bangalore South Constituency” or even a smaller part it it such as the “Basavanagudi” as a model area in which some of the concepts of the New Bangalore is implemented as a pilot project. Then this pilot project can be funded by the Central Government to be extended to the entire Bangalore City.
To start with, he has to declare his intention for this project, then if possible publish a few projects that may come to his mind immediately and then set up a Citizen Advisory Committee to take this further. All this can be done within the next two three days if he so desires so that its benefits can be taken for the current election.
I wish Mr Tejasvi would move in this direction instead of remaining complacent.