By T S Sudhir
“Devare Illa, Devare Illa” screamed an agitated B S Yeddyurappa, storming into the BJP meeting. Finding the other leaders perplexed, he fished out a piece of paper from his pocket and read out in English “There is no God”.
“See, I told you na,” chuckled Sushma Swaraj to Nitin Gadkari. “I told you it means `there is no God’. I have not forgotten my Kannada learnt in Bellary. Dingi dingi jingalala.” (and raises her hands as if doing a jig).
“Sushma ji, Sushma ji, control, control. We already had a lot of answering to do for your shaking a leg at Rajghat,” Gadkari said, trying to calm her mercurial enthusiasm.
Meanwhile BSY was raving and ranting in fourth gear. “How many temples did I not go to, how many temple elephants have not blessed me. Not just temples in Karnataka but even in Kerala, Tamilnadu, Vaishno Devi. Even Mauritius. Yet, yet, I keep landing in trouble. And Gadkari saab, I don’t mean land as in my land trouble.”
“Shant ho jayiye, Yeddyurappa saheb. Please sit down. Someone get him a glass of water,” said Gadkari.
“During the emergency, I remember our leaders getting agitated like this,” started L K Advani. “There was this incident in Amritsar, I vividly recall, when hamare ek sahyogi par aarop laga tha …”
Gadkari interrupted. “Yes Advani ji, we have heard that story before. This is an emergency alright. But we can’t have you going in flashback into The Emergency everytime please. We have a very serious issue at hand. What should the party do? Our chief minister has turned an atheist.”
Venkaiah Naidu, a Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka chipped in. “This is very bad PR for a Hindutva party like ours. Yeh hamare jaise Hindutva party ki chavvi ke liye bahut kharab hai. Idi manalanti Hindutva party ki chaala baadaakaramayina vishayam… ”
“Enough Venkaiah ji. This is not a press conference that you have to repeat the same soundbite in different languages to different channels. We have a problem on hand,” scolds Gadkari.
Prakash Javdekar tries to lighten the mood, playing court jester. “If Atal ji was here, he would have said “Yeh acchi baat nahi hai.”
“Javdekar ji. Yeh majaak ka waqt nahi hai. Yahan gambhir mudde par baatcheet ho rahi hai,” chided Advani. “I remember during a discussion in 1976 October, no, no, I think it was September, yes, yes, Raj Narain had made a similar frivolous remark and Morarji bhai had ticked him off.”
“Yes yes Advani ji. We will hold another session to listen to your tales from the Emergency. Promise. Pucca. Ok, double promise,” pleaded Gadkari. “What should BJP do?”
“Don’t resign,” opened up Arun Jaitley for the first time, even as Advani made a long face. “According to Article 87 part b annexure 6 (i) of Chapter 243 of the constitution, when the allegations levelled by a constitutional authority, like the Lokayukta, in this case, are leaked to the media before the final report is formally submitted, the elected leader is under no compulsion to resign.”
“Wah, Arun ji, kya Article hai. Wah. Very farsighted, B R Ambedkar was,” Gadkari was all appreciation. “So the leak has saved us.”
“But the problem is Yeddyurappa’s image, Nitin ji,” argued Venkaiah. “Just like during the Janata party rule, leaders objected to dual membership of Jan Sangh leaders like us, similarly, Yeddyurappa cannot be in the BJP and yet say there is no God.”
Advani nodded in approval at this reference to the 1970s.
“Yeddyurappa, you cannot abandon God,” warned Gadkari.
“What nonsense,” snapped BSY. “Wasn’t it you who told me not to accept that Gowda’s son’s challenge at Lord Manjunatha temple? I would have finished his story then and there. He would have never risen like a phenyl from the ashes.”
“Phoenix, Sir, phoenix, not phenyl,” whispers one of Yeddy’s aides.
“Ok ok now since both you and Kumaraswamy have been named by Hegde, why don’t you both go together and take an oath at the temple that you will fight all forces together,” suggested Javdekar, inviting dirty looks from everyone.
Suddenly, loud noises are heard outside.
Sushma peers through the curtain and says “It is the Bellary Reddy gang. They are holding up banners saying `Bellary Party’. Looks like they have quit BJP to float Bellary party.”
“Oh Dushta, dushta, Bellary party means BP. They want my BP to shoot up,” cries Yeddy. “Devare Illa, Devare Illa.”
(In a statement, the BJP has denied that any such meeting took place at the party office)