By T S Sudhir
Call him star struck or plain eccentric, B S Yeddyurappa took his obsession with Gods, stars and the almanac to a different level. All through his innings as chief minister of Karnataka, Yeddy interpreted the `God’s work is Government’s work’ line that is embossed at the entrance to the Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore, quite literally. One must give credit to his hardworking persona that despite praying regularly to the 330 million Gods in the Hindu pantheon, he found time to focus on the lands and mines of Karnataka as well.
Politicians usually consult astrologers on when to assume office. Yeddy looking heavenwards to choose the time of departure is an interesting first. Of course, he is not going anywhere. The powerful Lingayat leader will breathe down the neck of whoever succeeds him as chief minister, hoping to be a Deve Gowda to a J H Patel.
I remember covering the election results in Bangalore in May 2008 when the BJP just about scraped past the half-way mark. That Yeddyurappa will be CM was never in doubt but even on day one, no one was willing to give him a full five years in power. His short temper will do him in, was the refrain. I wonder if Yeddy knew that as well which is why he was in a hurry to make the most of his time in the CMO.
Yeddy is a family man. Just like all politicians in India are. If the Lokayukta’s exhaustive report is anything to go by, he allowed his DNA to mine-d its business, clearly believing in the dictum that the family that mines together, stays together in Mauritius on a vacation.
The mistake we are however, making is to go for Yeddyurappa’s jugular as if he is only Mr Unclean in public life today. There are many others in similar starched whites who have been molesting the system but have gotten away because they `manage’ better. Yes, an example must be made of the high and mighty brought to book but if the optimistic view is that a new man in Karnataka would clean the stables, it is living in a fool’s paradise. Governments today are run by vested corporate lobbies, who through their tentacles that run deep in the corridors of power and the media, control the levers of administration. In most states, the contractor-turned-politician and the goonda-turned-politician has learnt that a mid career switch into politics is the best way to guard against a midlife crisis with the law.
Coming back to Yeddy, the man has hogged the headlines for over two weeks now with his kabha haan kabha naa on his resignation. My humble plea is that the next time Yeddyurappa is given any post in the BJP or the government, the party should take an undated resignation letter from him in advance. The country will be glad to miss his Shakespearean `to go or not to go’ act.
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)
By T S Sudhir
PM : Good evening Madam. I bring to you good news. Yeddyurappa has agreed to step down.
Sonia Gandhi : Namarste, Manmohhan Singhji. But yeh acchi khabarr kaise hai? If he had not agreed, it would have meant more trouble for the BJP and that would have been Advantage Kangress.
PM : Oh, yees. Dhat tere ki. Mainu political dimaag hi nahi hai.
Sonia : Yes. What do they say in your Poonjabi? Mooli ke paranthe khayiye.
PM : Sorry Madam. I will learn. I will also spend some time with Digvijay Singh ji for political gyaan.
Sonia : Yes, I have called Diggy also to this meeting. He should be coming any moment now.
PM : But Madamji, he is always taking care of Rahul Baba and giving statements saying Baba should move to 7, Race Course Road. My worry is that phir aap akeli pad jayengi.
Sonia : (gives PM a cold glare as Diggy walks in) Aayiye Digyvijay ji, Pradhanmantri ji abhi abhi aapkee tarrrrrreef karr rahe the.
Diggy : Thankyou sir. I try my best to be a good babysitter, Madam.
Sonia : Let us discuss Karnataka now.
PM : Yes Madam. So as I was saying Yeddyurappa will resign now. Should we send S M Krishna to Karnataka to lead the Congress there?
Sonia : No. He is nat willing to go. He instead wants to travel to Hislamabad. He has arranged to play tennis with Hina Rabbannni Khar. I think he will lose the game at love.
PM : (mutters under his breath) I think he has already.
Diggy : If I may submit, let’s send Sharad Pawar and Farooq Abdullah too. They can play cricket and golf as well. Sporting ties are always good.
Sonia : Ok. Yes, tell Kapil Sibal not to talk about Karnataka. He will do some silly calculation and say Yeddy caused zero loss to the state exchequer.
PM : Yes Madam, I will SMS Sibal. He is hardworking but thoda Maths me kaccha hai.
Sonia : OK. What news from Tihar? That Raja created a scare by naming you.
PM : That is not a problem Madam. Actually, all this while, everyone was saying I don’t do any work. But Raja said I took some decision. Isn’t that positive?
Sonia : Ok ok, if you insist. Aapko Raajneeti bilkul nahi aati. Tell me, is it true that Suresh Kalmadi has forgotten everything?
PM : Kabhi haa kabhi naa. Short term memory loss lagta hai Madam. Memory is a very funny thing. I myself forget I am the PM of India. Even Krishna forgets. That’s why he read the Portugal minister’s speech. Haw haw haw.
Sonia : Good joke, Man ji. Aapka sense of humour is improving.
Diggy : Now Kalmadi has said his only problem is with the heart. What he means to say is that man Tihar mein nahi lagta. I have already declared him innocent. I think it was Nagpur’s conspiracy to implicate Kalmadi since he is from Pune.
Sonia : (ignoring his theory) By the way who is dis Rakhi Sawant?
PM : Naam sunayi padta hai. Is she a minister in my cabinet?
Sonia : (gives PM a stern look) No, apparently she said she was in love with Rahul Baba earlier and now she is in love with Baba Ramdev.
PM : Oye teri. From Baba to Baba.
Sonia : And she has also said “Meri Sonia Gandhi ke saath daal nahin galegi”. That’s so offensive. I always make pasta at home.
Diggy : This is so insulting. How can any girl reject Rahul? And that too for Ramdev. Ghor apmaan. (Turning to PM) Sir, kuch karna padega
PM : Main kya kar sakta hoon ji
Diggy : Can’t we book her under any section? Quickly.
PM : No idea
Diggy : So get idea. hee hee hee.
Sonia : No reference to that Bollywood family in my home, Digvijayji.
Diggy : Sorry Madam. (starts to surf the net on his mobile) Ah yes, Madam, yeh to wonderful hai. Disproportionate assets ka case to bilkul banta hai. Under section 36C.
PM : Yeh ED ka case ya CBI ka. FERA violation ya FEMA.
Sonia : Oh Manmohhanji, don’t take so much strain of work on your head. Not good for you. But this case sounds funny, I must say.
Diggy : No Madam, let us proceed. This is a plot of civil society to undermine our authority by making Rakhi Sawant say she finds Ramdev Hot-ter.
PM : Even Pranab da found him hot to handle ji
Sonia : Too many people calling Baba names. That Kerala man, what was hisss name, yes, V S Achooothanandan, uff what a long name, he called Rahul an Amul Baby.
Diggy : But this Rakhi Sawant will set an unhealthy precedent, Madam. We should act immediately.
PM : Haan ji. Gursharan also always advocates a strong line. Baby, err, I mean Baba so gaye kya?
Sonia : No, I am waiting for him to get back. He has gone for an evening walk. I hope he does not get lost and step into Uttar Pradesh. Will you go and search for him and get him back, Manmohan ji, if you are not too busy?
PM : Me, beejee, never. I will go right away Madam. At your service. Good night.
Diggy : I will come with you Manmohan ji. I know his regular haunts in Noida. Good night Madam
Sonia : Good night.
(We would like to inform our readers that a probe has been ordered into how this conversation was recorded and leaked out. Sonia Gandhi suspects the PM has started chewing gum and has asked him to either lose the habit or his job. Digvijay suspects an RSS hand. Watch this space for more)
By T S Sudhir
Like the soap operas on Sun TV, where once every few weeks, there is a flare-up, with the mother-in-law banishing the daughter-in-law (or vice versa), the curtains have gone up on yet another Act in the Karnataka nataka. The latest kahaani me twist, of course, is more “explosive”. For the salvo is not fired by the unofficial leader of the Opposition, Governor H R Bharadwaj, but the Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hegde.
The Lokayukta is reported to have named chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, former CM H D Kumaraswamy, the infamous Bellary brothers, two more ministers and a senior Congress leader. Staying true to the adage that the family that “eats” together, stays together, the CM’s son and son-in-law also have been named. For in a very Kalaignar TV style operation, 10 crore rupees were reportedly `donated’ by a mining company to a trust owned by the CM’s family. The report says the loss to the state’s exchequer from illegal mining is 1827 crore rupees in 14 months between April 2009 and May 2010. The soot from the Bellary mining scam has blackened the face of Karnataka.
But what’s new, you may ask. True, the report only puts in black and white what has been the talk on the street for quite many months now. That Karnataka politicians are out to Bangalore the state. That Karnataka has given the traditionally bad image states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh a run for their money. Munni badnaam huwi, Karnataka tere liye.
The BJP has reacted pathetically, saying there is nothing new in the report. Old Bellary in new Hegde. The party is more bothered about how the report got leaked and not about Hedge’s allegation that his phones have been tapped.
I hope the Congress, the BJP and Deve zzzzz Gowda’s Janata Dal don’t use the occasion to score brownie points. Iss Hamaam me sab nange and it is high time, the civil society of Karnataka says no to this crass nudity.
Now that Yeddyurappa’s Mauritius holiday has been ruined, he should come back and get out of his job. He has brought enough ignominy to himself, his chair, his party and the state. The BJP has shown to what level it can stoop to save its gateway to south India, by sending V Dhananjay Kumar to allegedly “intimidate” Justice Hege to ensure he does not mention Yeddy in the report. The party would do well to put its spokespersons on mute for a while and focus on cleaning up its home. Though with Yeddy and the Bellary wealth gone, BJP may well shut shop in Karnataka.
Deve Gowda and Sons have proved that they have the best interests of everyone in mind. Everyone in their family, I mean. I suspect Gowda will play the humble farmer card once again. Ignore him. It has been 14 years since he spoke of rising like a phoenix from the ashes. The ashes have turned cold.
And the Congress, waiting in the wings, too has got its `hand’ dirty in the till. Though I dread the cocky sneer that Manish Tewari will have on his face tonight. But with `Portugal’ S M Krishna as its tallest leader, it doesn’t have a hope in hell to occupy Vidhana Soudha. Siddharamaiah, the other aspirant, has too many crabs in the Congress to contend with, to emerge a winner.
Karnataka doesn’t deserve this. A bout of President’s rule, albeit under a non-partisan, apolitical, dynamic Governor will do the state a world of good. And Bharadwaj should be put on the next flight back to Delhi.
For the last many years, Karnataka’s politicians have ruled by hook or by crook. It is time to organise a get together for the crooks.