“I hope to lead the youth to a more progressive and sustainable India”, Tejasvi Surya, 28 yr old BJP candidate from Bengaluru South
In a move that surprised many within the party and outside, BJP chose young Tejasvi Surya, all of 28 years and a practising lawyer, as its candidate for the prestigious Bengaluru South Lok Sabha constituency for the 2019 general elections. His nomination created waves across the country as the party had chosen a new face, someone who did not have a political background and was just nearing 30. PM Narendra Modi has always laid stress on the role of the youth in development of the country but Tejasvi’s selection was a pleasant surprise for the supporters of BJP and a hard fact to swallow for the opponents. This is because Bengaluru South, which was represented by Late Shri Ananth Kumar for 6 consecutive terms, is known to have sizeable young and educated voters who will be the deciding factor.
Tejasvi Surya, 28 yr old BJP candidate from Bengaluru South
Tejasvi was an active member of the ABVP and has successfully conducted several events and rallies in Karnataka. A well know speaker, he has gained dedicated followers of his speeches on social media. In this interview to Organiser, Tejasvi Surya spoke about the importance of his candidature, his role as a young parliamentarian and the role of youth in building India in the future.
In the light of impetus given by Modi government to youth empowerment, how do you see the importance of your candidature?
About 600 million people, more than half India’s population, are under 25 years old. The median age of an Indian is 27 years old. Yet, the average Indian, filled with youthful energy and hope, doesn’t really have anyone representing them in our democratic processes.
Standing at the vanguard of technological revolutions, the Indian youth workforce is possibly the largest untapped resource in our country. By giving them a chance to forge a path to success and stability through skill-development, employment, and a livable wage, I hope to lead the youth to a more progressive and sustainable India. I am the youngest candidate this time, but I look forward to seeing more youth representation from every state over the next 5 years.
Once elected, as a first time parliamentarian, what will be your focus? How will you balance your duties towards Bengaluru South, as a parliamentarian and in building the party in the state?
For the people of Bengaluru South and the youth of India, I will strive to fulfill each and every promise stated in my Vision document. From protecting Bengaluru’s precious trees and lakes to securing a better economic environment for budding entrepreneurs, I aim to ensure the policy process of our vibrant democracy is based on satisfying the basic needs and rights of every Indian.
No farmer, waiter, bus conductor or pourakarmika will walk Indian streets with their heads down. Empowering every woman, man and trans individual will be prioritised as we have drawn our power from them.
The basic goals for Bengaluru South is similar to the goals of the entire nation. I see no hardship in balancing this as they are equally prioritised.
Youth are 65% of our population. With increasing population how do you propose to engage youth in gainful employment?
Yes, the majority of Indians are young. Yet, they lack the skills to secure a stable job. Primary and secondary education, particularly provided by public schools and colleges, have followed old schemes and curricula which do not contribute to the development of a skilled and able youth populace.
Atal Tinkering Labs are dedicated works spaces where students learn innovation skills and develop ideas that will go on to transform India. This is only one such unique scheme. Acquainting youngsters with knowledge of Information Technology and the Internet of Things will ensure they have employment in our rapidly evolving economy. Moreover, I hope to encourage more girl-children and women to enter STEM research and innovation.
A certain section of our Youth today are attracted by the ideology of Naxalism and anti-India narrative. As a young leader, how do you propose should this scenario be handled?
The issue here is that the youth are distancing themselves from the idea of patriotism. Our country has one of oldest histories and each state has their own fascinating culture which is being replaced by western ideas.
By aspiring to be the next New York, London or Melbourne, we will fall prey to countries that have half the culture we possess. I hope that by providing opportunity, and not mere hope, we can reignite the spirit of patriotism towards our vibrant country. We cannot encourage dialogues which relegate this nation to a secondary position. This starts with voting and I hope the youth embrace democracy instead of the contradictory ideas of Naxalism by using the power of their vote this election.
There is a section which in the name of language or regionalism wants to drive a wedge between north and South India. Many youth are falling for this narrative. How do you think this can be nipped in the bud?
Bengaluru has become a global city with workers coming from across the country and the world in search of better futures. However, many individuals are against this because they believe their language and regional identity is being lost.
I sympathise with this sentiment. It is imperative that these individuals never lose their identity. Instead, those working in a new city must be encouraged to learn the language and history. This will not only nurture an interest in various cultures, but will also help them assimilate more easily.