Tamil Nadu

Tamilisai Soundararajan Over S G Suryah In South Chennai: Why The BJP Might Have Chosen To Do So

S Rajesh

Apr 02, 2024, 05:14 PM | Updated Apr 03, 2024, 12:26 PM IST

Tamilisai Soundararajan, left, and S G Suryah.
Tamilisai Soundararajan, left, and S G Suryah.
  • BJP fields Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan in South Chennai, disappointing S G Suryah's supporters. Suryah congratulates her and pledges to campaign for her.
  • The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate list for Tamil Nadu was released around 10 days ago after a long wait due to alliance talks.

    While nominations have been filed and campaigning has started in full swing — as the state goes to polls during the first phase scheduled on 19 April, talk of the party’s choices in certain seats not being right continues to be heard.

    One such seat is South Chennai. BJP state secretary S G Suryah was known to be one of the contenders for the seat but the party decided to field Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan, a former state party president, who resigned from her position of Governor of Telangana and Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, just a few days before the list was announced.

    While Suryah’s supporters were unhappy with the decision and expressed their disappointment online, he was one of the first to congratulate Soundararajan and also released a video saying that while it is true that he was expecting the seat and had been working in the constituency for the past couple of years, he believed that the party had his best interests in mind.

    Referring to Soundararajan as 'Tamilisai akka', (elder sister), Suryah said that it was during her tenure that he had become the vice president of the party's youth wing and an official spokesperson for the party. Further, he said that it was because of the opportunities that he got then, he is in the position that he is in today.

    He added that he would get on the streets to campaign for her from the very next day.

    Soundararajan’s return to politics was not completely unexpected. The BJP has brought governors back into active politics. Take for instance, Kummanam Rajasekharan in Kerala, who was brought back from Mizoram. 

    However, there was talk that she would once again be fielded against Kanimozhi, the sister of Chief Minister M K Stalin from Thoothukudi, in a repeat of the 2019 faceoff. Her being fielded from South Chennai, thus came as a surprise.

    One possible reason for fielding Soundararajan could be the high profile nature of the constituency. Most of the state's who's who reside here. It has been represented by leaders like T T Krishnamachari, C N Annadurai, Murasoli Maran and R Venkataraman in the past. The party might thus have wanted to go with her as she is a well known face compared to Suryah. 

    According to political observers, the path ahead for Soundararajan will not be easy as she has been out of active politics for the last 4-5 years and most of the second rung and third rung office-bearers of the party today are new, and joined because of their liking for state president K Annamalai. 

    They add that if the party was keen on fielding her from the seat, she could have been asked to quit governorship a few months back so that she would have had enough time to acquaint herself with the office-bearers and ground level workers and run a good campaign.

    A party functionary based in Chennai who did not wish to be named said that the natures of Suryah and Soundararajan are very different and that could confuse the cadre.

    While Suryah has a background in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and is considered close to Annamalai, the latter is seen as the more old school type and someone who does not take on the Dravidian parties as vigorously.

    A few others whom Swarajya spoke to stated that the decision had demoralised some of the young supporters, and those who had taken long leave to campaign for Suryah, were cutting it short and returning to work.

    What's next for Suryah?

    "The next best thing that Suryah can hope for is a ticket in the 2026 Assembly elections from one of the constituencies that fall under the South Chennai Lok Sabha constituency. The sympathy that he has got after missing out this time combined with the fact that he has not rebelled or spoken against the party’s decision is likely to hold him in good stead," said the party functionary.

    S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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