Bengaluru never had woman MP & Congress’ Sowmya Reddy wants to make history

Bengaluru South is spread across eight Assembly segments. In the 2023 Assembly elections, the BJP won five of them and Congress in three.


Published Apr 19, 2024 | 3:59 PMUpdatedApr 19, 2024 | 3:59 PM

Bengaluru South candidate Sowmya Reddy

By Anjali Pillay

Bengaluru never had a woman member of Parliament, and Sowmya Reddy of Congress wants to make history.

Politics is not something new for the 41-year-old who had served as MLA of Jayanagar and was heart-broken when she lost by a mere 16 votes in her re-election bid in this city constituency in the Assembly elections last year.

She is taking on MP and BJP Youth Wing chief Tejasvi Surya in Bengaluru South segment in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Bengaluru South is a BJP stronghold. Late HN Ananth Kumar, who had served as Union Minister, had represented this segment for six consecutive terms from 1996.

But Sowmya— daughter of senior Congress leader and Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy— remains unperturbed. The party, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shiva Kumar, who is also state Congress chief, have put their might behind her.

Attack on Tejaswi Surya

Sowmya alleged that Surya, President of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, has not only spread hate and indulged in divisive politics since the last five years but also did not speak up for Karnataka in Parliament.

Bengaluru South is spread across eight Assembly segments. In the 2023 Assembly elections, the BJP won five of them and Congress in three.

Sowmya was generous in her praise of late Ananth Kumar as a Parliamentarian.

“Mr Ananth Kumar was from BJP but he used to work beyond party lines and after elections also, he used to be in touch with his constituents irrespective of the fact that he was a minister and that’s precisely the only reason why it was BJP for so long,” she told PTI in an interview.

However, Sowmya feels that in the past five years people are upset and disappointed with the sitting MP (Surya) because “not just for the fact that he was not available nor accessible on the ground but also he did not speak up for Karnataka in the Parliament.”

“All he (Surya) has been doing is spreading hate and doing divisive politics,” she alleged.

Confident of winning this election, Sowmya said people have seen her work as an MLA and they are also very happy with Congress as well as the Siddaramaiah-led government.

Also Read: BJP files complaint with ECI against Congress’ Sowmya Reddy for alleged violation of poll code

Challenges faced by women candidates

On challenges women candidates face, she said it’s a patriarchal world and that’s precisely why she got into electoral politics. Representation of women is needed, she said and acknowledged that people, party cadre and elected representatives have been extremely supportive.

“People have been welcoming me with open arms saying that we have never had an MP from Bengaluru who is a woman and we are absolutely sure that you will do justice to your job as a parliamentarian so we will definitely support you and also people are extremely happy with the policies of the Congress government and saying that you (your party) practice what you preach..

You (Congress) spoke about the five guarantees which actually focused on women and their financial empowerment. Precisely that’s also the reason why you will see that most women are going to vote for Congress across the state,” Sowmya said.

On dynasty politics

On BJP accusing the Congress of indulging in dynastic politics, she alleged: “there are so many candidates in BJP as well who are part of dynasty.”

“Of course, we need to ensure that in the future, irrespective of which political party it is should become more accessible for a common person to come and contest in elections”, Sowmya said.

Being son or daughter of a prominent leader gives an advantage to any candidate to a certain degree but “at the same time people look at the candidate and see whether they are committed, whether they are efficient, whether they are accessible and whether they speak up for the people of the State…,” she added.

Also Read: Three assaulted for raising ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogan in Bengaluru, four held

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)