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Who will be South Bangalore's Biwi No 1?

Last updated on: April 01, 2014 15:40 IST

Who will be South Bangalore's Biwi No 1?

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Vicky Nanjappa

Nandan Nilekani’s wife Rohini and Ananth Kumar’s wife Tejaswini add a new dimension to the tough electoral race for South Bangalore. Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa joins the two on the campaign trail.   

Even as Congress’s Nandan Nilekani and Bharatiya Janata Party’s strongman Ananth Kumar try to debate their way to the polls (a failed attempt), their wives are waging their own battle.

South Bangalore is witnessing the battle of the better halves.   

Mrs Nilekani and Mrs Kumar have jumped into the fray adding more fire and spice to the campaign. But who will be crowned Mrs South Bangalore?

Tejaswini Ananth Kumar is a household name. She’s been there, done that, campaigning fiercely for her husband, now a five-time MP from the constituency, for over two decades.  

For Rohini Nilekani, it’s a dive from air-conditioned five-star luncheons to the heat of the campaign trail. It’s an all-new world throwing up though challenges, but Rohini appears to be soon learning the tricks of the trade. Her connect with South Bangalore’s IT crowd is instant. Her husband, the co-founder of Infosys, is like a godfather for many.

The ‘aam aadmi’ appears to be a little sceptical while dealing with the wife of the IT billionaire, but Rohini is taking that extra step and more to bridge the gap.      

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Image: Nandan Nilekani's wife Rohini interacts with vegetable vendors in South Bangalore.


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Tejaswini feels at home on the campaign trail; the locals simply adore her. 

But Rohini’s strength, the tony neighbourhoods, is where her weakness lies. She faces tough questions from upmarket South Bangloreans; a veteran campaigner, she’s well aware that they could swing the votes against the BJP.

This year’s elections could be the first real test of the popularity of the Kumars. And Tejaswini will be standing right next to her husband through it all, the way she has done all these years. Politics has been as much a part of her life as his since she quit her career as an engineer to become a homemaker, a political spouse. 

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Image: Tesajwini Ananth Kumar distributes pamphlets while campaigning for her husband.
Photographs: Ananth Kumar/Facebook

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Rohini was initially reluctant as her husband took the political plunge. But today she has no doubt that it was the right move. “The people want change,” she says and the Nilekanis “can provide it”. “My husband is serious about ushering in that change.”

She too seems to be enjoying every bit of the political game. She starts her campaign early, mingling with morning walkers and then gets on to the routine. There seems to be no stopping her, not even her fractured hand.

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Image: Theatre personality Girish Karnad campaigns with Rohini


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Tejaswini plays her cards well, chanting the NaMo mantra like every BJP backer. “Kumar will be a part of the ruling government that will benefit the constituency. Think of the election on a national level and not at a local level,” she says in her efforts to woo the public. 

Rohini’s focus on the other hand is on clean governance. She has received brickbats for the same, with her opponents saying that Nilekani should first contest the local body polls.

The BJP camp is confident that Kumar will hit a sixer; the Congress, of course, is hoping that Nilekani will emerge as a giant-slayer. 


Image: Tejaswini is popular with the janata in South Bangalore
Photographs: Ananth Kumar/Facebook

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