Bengaluru Congress Pick Says Students Forced To Attend Tejasvi Surya Rally

Tejasvi Surya is contesting from Bangalore South seat, which he won last time


Congress leader Soumya Reddy, who is set to take on BJP’s Tejasvi Surya in the Bengaluru South Lok Sabha contest, has sought the Election Commission’s intervention amid allegations that students are being pressured to attend the BJP leader’s nomination rally.

In a post on X, Ms Reddy has shared screenshots of WhatsApp messages that the Congress claims were posted on groups of college students, asking them to join Mr Surya’s nomination rally today. One of the messages says “no excuses will be entertained” and that those attending the rally will get t-shirts. The message also assures the students that they will get attendance for this.

Ms Reddy has also tagged a social media post by the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) on the issue. The IYC post shares a screenshot of a tweet in which a student has claimed that the president of his institution’s student council is threatening them against skipping the rally.

One of the screenshot shows a member of the WhatsApp group asking why attendance is mandatory. Another user replies that Mr Surya had accepted the student council’s request to attend the college’s fest and “now it’s our turn to do the same”.

The IYC has questioned why students are being told to compulsorily attend a political programme. “Isn’t this a violation of the code of conduct?” it asked. Sharing IYC’s post, Ms Reddy has tagged the Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka and said, “Request action to be taken.”

Mr Surya, who will be filing his nomination papers, today has not responded to the allegations. His office has, however, posted clips of youngsters saying they were excited to join the BJP MP’s nomination rally.

Mr Surya is sitting MP from Bangalore South, a BJP stronghold earlier held by veteran leader and Union Minister, the late Ananth Kumar, for two decades. In the 2019 election, Mr Surya defeated the Congress’s BK Hariprasad by a margin of over 3 lakh votes. 

Ms Reddy is the daughter of Karnataka minister Ramalinga Reddy and a former MLA from Jayanagar, one of the eight Assembly segments under the Bangalore South parliamentary constituency.