Posts Tagged ‘B.S.Yeddyurappa’

Picture No. 34 in the world’s best BSY portfolio

12 November 2013

Photo Caption

Former Karnataka chief minister and the president of the Karnataka Janata Party, B.S. Yediyurappa, with KJP leader Shobha Karandlaje  during the fledgling party’s indefinite strike at Anand Rao circle in Bangalore, on Tuesday, demanding the rollout of the ‘Shaadi bhagya’ scheme for all communities.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also view: The world’s best Yediyurappa photo portfolio

India’s most photogenic former CM strikes again

Will Yediyurappa return change BJP fortunes?

11 July 2013

What goes around, comes around. Barely months after he left the party fuming and fretting, barely months after the party thought it had seen the back of him, B.S. Yediyurappa and the BJP—both chastened by the defeat in the Karnataka assembly elections—are apparently eyeing each other.

In one sense, it is a reality check for the BJP, which likes to think of itself as a cadre-based party, and for Yediyurappa, who thought that his standing was alone enough to carry him to power. With both the party and the individual realising their limitations, they are thinking of mending broken bridges.

In another sense, it is also a reflection of the changed if not changing reality in the BJP. With “two-time former future prime minister” L.K. Advani, who apparently played a key role in Yediyurappa’s ouster, no longer calling the shots, Yediyurappa sees an opening in the new scheme of things under Narendra Modi. And vice-versa.

Both sides are now playing coy. The BJP wants him to formally “apply” to rejoin the party. Yediyurappa, for his part, says the majority of his followers only want a tie-up with the parent body, not a formal merger. Either way, the path is being paved for the return of the prodigal.

Still, there is such a thing as political morality. When Yediyurappa walked out, the BJP painted all the excesses of his government—the corruption, the scams, the scandals—to him and his cronies. Will facilitating Yediyurappa’s return impact Modi’s national ambitions? Will the BJP emerge stronger in Karnataka with Yediyurappa’s return, or is this too convenient an arrangement which voters will see through?

Why Modi will address only one rally in K’taka*

25 April 2013

Photo Caption

Security personnel on election duty search a car at a check post on Hospet road in Bellary on Thursday, even as a new pre-poll survey suggests that the Congress, despite all its troubles, continues to maintain a healthy lead over the BJP in the assembly elections due in the “gateway to the south” next week.

The survey, conducted by the centre for study of developing societies (CSDS), for CNN-IBN and The Week, shows that the Congress could end up with at least 117 seats in a house of 224. Like other polls before this one, BJP comes second with 59 seats, JD(S) third at 44. KJP and others are also-rans.

Former chief minsiter H.D. Kumaraswamy of the JD(S) is the most preferred CM candidate, with 18 per cent people voting in favour of him. Ex-BJP strongman B.S. Yediyurappa is the second choice for CM (10%), followed by Congress leader Siddaramaiah (9%), S.M. Krishna (8%), and Jagadish Shettar (6%).

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THE POLLS SO FAR

CSDS-CNN-IBN, The Week (April): Congress 117-129, BJP 39-49, JD(S) 33-44

Suvarna News-Cfore (April): Congress 105-122 out of 224; BJP 55-70; JD(S) 30-45

Headlines Today-C-Voter (March): Congress 114-122, BJP 48-56, JD(S) 32-38, KJP 10-14

Tehelka-C-Voter (January): Congress 133, BJP 63, JD(S) 19, KJP 5

Suvarna News-CFore (Decamber 2012): Congress 113, BJP 58, JD(S) 31, KJP 14

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* Search engine optimisation techniques at work

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

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POLL: Does Yediyurappa’s KJP stand a chance?

10 December 2012

The disgraceful nataka in BJP-ruled Karnataka has taken yet another farcical turn with the former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa formally launching his own regional party, the Karnataka Janata Party, from the central town of Haveri on Sunday. With just a few months to go before the term of the current assembly ends, the “gateway to the south” is clearly now in election mode.

Yediyurappa’s is not the first regional party in the State: from D. Devaraj Urs to Ramakrishna Hegde to S. Bangarappa, the pot of regionalism has been periodically simmering, usually in vain. But there are three key differences between then and now.

One, while those worthies at least had the semblance of the greater common good—social justice, land reforms, secularism, etc—Yediyurappa and his ilk have had no bigger aim or objective than cloaking their own self-interest in reginoal colours . Witness the constant refrain of “sthaana-maana” in the last couple of years.

Two, while M/s Urs, Hegde and Bangarappa represented small communities, Yediyurappa represents the large Lingayat community, which is neck and neck with the Vokkaligas in numerical strength. So, to that extent, Yediyurappa has given his community the political equivalent of H.D. Deve Gowda‘s Janata Dal (Secular).

And three, and perhaps most importantly, Yediyurappa’s party comes at a time when the two national parties, the Congress and BJP, are in decline across the nation, as evidenced by diminishing vote share and seat share, odd exceptions notwithstanding.

Questions: Will Yediyurappa’s attempt pay off? Is Karnataka ready for a regional party? Will he eat into BJP votes or Congress votes? Can he get the majority to form a government? If not, will he tie up with the BJP or the Congress? Or, will his political outfit be an insiginficant player, which will be his shield against the cases against him and his sons?

Also read: Is it all over for B.S. Yediyurappa?

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POLL: Has RSS shown Narendra Modi his place?

12 November 2012

The RSS ideologue M.G. Vaidya has kicked off a big storm in the BJP teacup ahead of the Gujarat elections, by alleging that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was behind the recent campaign of vilification against the party president Nitin Gadkari, which culminated in a demand for Gadkari’s removal from the post by the renowned lawyer and BJP member of Parliament, Ram Jethmalani, and his lawyer-son Mahesh Jethmalani.

On his blog, Vaidya writes:

“Needle of suspicion in the campaign against BJP president Nitin Gadkari points to Gujarat BJP and Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Ram Jethmalani had in one breath said he is seeking the resignation of Gadkari and that he also wanted to see Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister in 2014.”

In many ways, what Vaidya says is not particularly new; Modi’s alleged involvement (and of his lackeys) in hurling allegations at Gadkari over his business dealings through the media has been gossip in the political corridors and television studios in Delhi for days now. After all, Jethmalani senior (who represents the former minister of state for home, Amit Shah, in the encounter cases) was given a Rajya Sabha seat at the behest of Modi.

But the backroom buzz has been given a certificate of authenticity with Vaidya putting it on record and then reiterating it, although the BJP has been at pains to reject the insinuation. However, since nothing in the RSS happens without a pattern, Vaidya going public with his allegation at this juncture poses several questions:

Is the RSS conveying its displeasure of Modi’s tactics and his overweening ambition to occupy the national stage? Was Gadkari retained as BJP chief last week (after another RSS ideologue S. Gurumurthy gave a clean chit) largely to show Modi his place? Did Modi mount a subversive attack on Gadkari in the full knowledge that if Gadkari finished his first term or got a second term (as the party’s consitution now allows), he could prove a hurdle in his path given the backing he enjoys from the RSS?

More importantly, does Modi’s ascension look less assured even if he wins a third term, as he is slated to? And, if he is rebuffed in his prime ministerial ambitions should NDA get a majority, could Modi (as B.S. Yediyurappa aide and the president of his soon-to-be-formed party, Dhananjay Kumar, has said on TV) break away and form his own party as Yediyurappa is threatening to do?

And, does the recent turn of events indicate the kind of polarising figure Narendra Modi will be if he graduates to Delhi?

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Cartoon: courtesy R. Prasad/ Mail Today

CHURUMURI POLL: Has India lost moral compass?

23 October 2012

In its 62nd year as a Republic, India presents a picture that can only mildy be termed unedifying.

Scams are raining down on a parched landscape with frightening ferocity. From outer space (2G, S-band) to the inner depths of mother earth (coal), the Congress-led UPA has had it all covered in its second stint. Meanwhile, Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of the first family of the Congress, has taken charge of scandals at or near sea level.

Salman Khurshid, the smooth-talking Oxford-educated law minister, thinks it is beneath his dignity to respond in a dignified manner to charges of pilfering Rs 71 lakh from the disabled. The Harvard-educated finance minister P. Chidambaram and his family is happily busy gobbling up parts of the east coast from farmers. Etcetera.

But what of the opposition?

The BJP’s president Nitin Gadkari is neckdeep in a gapla of his own,  one that threatens, in fact one that is designed to deprive him of a second stint in office. “Scam”, of course, was the middle-name of party’s Karnataka mascot, B.S. Yediyurappa. From Mulayam‘s SP to Mayawati‘s BSP to Sharad Pawar‘s NCP, from Karunanidhi‘s DMK to Jayalalitha‘s AIADMK, money-making is the be-all and end-all.

The less said of the corporates who have pillaged the country since time immemorial the better but Vijay Mallya presents its most compelling side as he shuts down his airline while his son hunts for calendar girls. The do-gooders of Team Anna and now Team Kejriwal are themselves subject to searching questions on their integrity levels. And the media is busy getting exposed as extortionists and blackmailers.

Questions: Have we as a country completely lost our moral and ethical compass? Are we going through an “unprecedented” phenomenon or is this what the US and other developed democracies like Japan have gone through in their path to progress? Or does it not matter in the greater scheme of things? Is all this leaving the citizenry cynical and frustrated or do we not care because all of us are in it, in our own little ways?

CHURUMURI POLL: Will Yedi exit harm BJP?

4 October 2012

After threatening to leave the Bharatiya Janata Party virtually every fortnight since he resigned from office in disgrace under a haze of sleaze and corruption in July 2011—and after making a mockery of two wonderful Kannada words sthana (position) and maana (respect) since then—former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa has finally mustered the strength and the courage to say that he has had enough with the BJP and will call it quits from the party.

By all indications, Yediyurappa will announce his new party in November or December, in time for the assembly elections due in the first-half of 2013.

Yediyurappa has ruled out joining any other political party although he has been singing paeans of Sonia Gandhi‘s Congress party over the last few weeks, and although Nitish Kumar‘s JD(U) and Mulayam Singh Yadav‘s Samajawadi Party, both avowedly secular parties with little presence in the South, are both said to be toying with the idea of joining hands with Yediyurappa, who cut his teeth in the RSS.

But the questions remain: Has Yediyurappa delayed his exit too long? Has BJP neutralised his influence by allowing him to drag on with his antics? Will Yediyurappa on his own be even half the force he was with the BJP? Will the BJP split help the Congress in the assembly polls? Will Yediyurappa’s new party result in a four-way race in the State and thus make it easier for the BJP?

How BJP plunged Karnataka into cesspool of caste

28 July 2012

“Welcome to the Vidhana Soudha.  If you are a Lingayat, press 1. If your are a Gowda , press 2. If you are a  Kuruba, press 3. If you are a Idiga, press 4. If  you are  a Dalit, press 5. If you are a Muslim, press 6. If you are a Christian, press 7. If you are none of these, disconnect and join the queue for Dharma Darshana of the Chief Minister and take your chance. Thanks for calling.”

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: At the moment, this is just an SMS doing the rounds but don’t be surprised if you were to actually hear this message in the days to come, as the process of political churning set in motion by the present BJP dispensation, is taken to its logical conclusion.

At the moment, the polarisation of castes, which is what this political churning amounts to, remains confined to the internal struggle for power within the ruling party. Its success or failure could spur other parties to follow suit, leaving Karnataka vying with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

What is however special to the political churning in Karnataka is that the process has been initiated by a national party like the BJP, while in other States it has generally been the handiwork of regional parties at the cost of the Congress or BJP.

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The author of the ongoing process in Karnataka is, of course, none other than the disgruntled former chief minister, B.S. Yediyurappa, who is desperate to regain political primacy in the State after he was forced to quit office in the wake of his indictment by the Lokayukta in the illegal mining and other scams.

But it has also got an indirect endorsement from the BJP’s bosses in New Delhi, who have been singularly helpless in curbing the political intransigence of the former CM, because of the imperative necessity of keeping the first saffron government south of Vindhyas in office, by hook or by crook.

It was Yediyurappa who started overtly playing the Lingayat card although the chief minister’s post in the State has been held by Lingayat politicians before him. It is a mystery what prompted Yediyurappa at the pinnacle of his popularity to play the caste card card, which has reduced him from a mass leader to the leader of a single caste.

For years, if not decades, Yediyurappa had painted himself as a leader of all classes and castes. He rose through dint of sheer hard work and sustained organisational strength.

Once he took over as the Chief Minister in 2008, he started portraying himself as the unquestioned political leader of the Lingayats, a prominent community which has a pan-Karnataka presence, with the northern half of the State being the sheet anchor of the support.

Yediyurappa started courting the religious heads among the community and was liberal in doling grants to the institutions managed by them.

If the move was aimed at providing himself with a shield to fight his political battle, it obviously failed.

For sure, the swamijis were at the forefront whenever his throne was in trouble, but it was hardly of avail since he could not prevent his ouster 11 months ago despite the campaigning by the lingayat swamijis. As a matter of fact, the swamijis got their  reputation tarnished by the  manner in which they winked at corruption.

Furthermore, their attempts to save a government steeped in corruption and a bunch of ministers neck deep in it merely because they happened to be Lingayats made them a laughing stock in public.

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The caste politics unleashed by Yediyurappa was on full display during the formation of the third BJP ministry headed by Jagadish Shettar. The Vokkaligas suddenly discovered that D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who was facing the heat, was a fellow Vokkaliga and rallied around him.

Though they could not save DVS’s chair, they gave enough hints that they are also a force to be reckoned with in Karnataka politics.

It was not without insignificant that the Deve Gowda-Kumaraswamy duo which was vocal in the criticism of the Yediyurappa government had suddenly grown soft during Sadananda Gowda’s 11-month regime. The transformation was attributed widely to the Vokkalinga connection.

The post of Chief Minister having gone to Shettar, a Lingayat, the two other powerful castes insisted and succeeded in creating specially two posts of the deputy chief ministers for the first time in Karnataka politics, and these went to K.S. Eswarappa (Kuruba) and R. Ashok (Vokkaliga).

It is expected that the post of the party president, which may be vacated by Eswarappa on his induction into the cabinet, is likely to go to “others” category.

To make the power sharing arrangement more authentic, both Eswarappa and Ashok were specifically sworn as the deputy CMs, even though the Constitution does not recognize such a political office. Normally aspirants are sworn in as a minister and later get designated as the deputy CM. Whether this will be a precedent for ministry-making exercises in future remains to be seen.

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The pattern of distribution of portfolios in the BJP-run government has been done according to the same formula, with the powerful caste denominations walking away with plum portfolios while the insignificant groups have been forced to accept minor and less-important ones.

Ironically, there was no Lingayat politician who could command the allegiance of Lingayats and emerge as their political voice. In fact, it was not any Lingayat politician but a Bramhin, the late Ramakrishna Hegde, who commanded the respect and trust of Lingayats as a whole in general and in northern half of the state in particular.

Hegde chose to deny himself what would have been a fresh lease of life for his political career when he resisted the pressure by his followers in the new political outfit the United Janata Dal to take over as the CM in place of J.H Patel, who was reigning then.

This he did because he did not want to hurt Lingayat sentiments.

The BJP’s continued drought of political support in the 1990s came as a byproduct of the electoral tie-up between the BJP and the JDU to fight the Congress. Hedge’s demise created a political vacuum and the BJP and Yediyurappa moved in to fit the  bill.

This is what enabled Yediyurappa to claim as a  lingayat leader.

But its continued Lingayat fixation coupled with Yediyurappa’s narcissistic tendencies  have contributed substantially to the precipitous fall of Yediyurappa from political grace.

When the BJP high command forced Yediyurappa to quit , his ego was badly hurt. He could not countenance his exit from power. Since then he has been ranting and raving for the restoration of his own political hegemony and has been bemoaning the loss of political primacy for Lingayats.

He has only a single-point agenda: he should have political power either by de jure or de facto manner.

If he cannot get power on his own directly, he must enjoy it through proxy. This was the rationale behind his move to get his own nominee Sadananda Gowda installed as his successor.

Gowda, a low profile functionary, happened to be one his confidants and a safe bet to be trusted unlike his other confidant Shettar, a fellow Lingayat, who had strayed away from his path. This, he achieved after virtually brow beating the high command for the selection of successor through voting.

But he got wary of Gowda soon, as the latter showed signs of moving out of his orbit.

Result: Yediyurappa himself launched a virulent campaign to bring down the man he had put in office sometime ago. He blackmailed the high command to have his way again. And this time Yediyurappa chose to bring back Shettar back into the fold to act as his proxy.

In his overt zeal to get back power, Yediyurappa has introduced in Karnataka politics, the canker of caste politics, which is expected to change the political scenario altogether in the days to come.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

A surly backbencher takes a bird’s eye-view

25 July 2012

Former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa watches the proceedings in the monsoon session of the Karnataka legislative assembly on Wednesday as the current incumbent of the CM’s gaddi, his friend-turned-foe-turned friend Jagadish Shettar, occupies the front row at the Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

A sacrificial pawn on Yediyurappa’s chess board

11 July 2012

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: Jagadish Shettar, who has been catapulted to the position of chief minister-designate in Karnataka, has been nothing but a political pawn in the game of political chess being played by the scam-tainted B.S. Yediyurappa.

He got a break in 1994 when, as a low-level party functionary, he was asked to take on Basavaraj Bommai, son of the former chief minister, S.R. Bommai, in the Hubli rural assembly constituency, a bastion of Janata Dal.

It was an impossible task by any standard for novice in politics like Shettar but he pulled it off thanks to the afterglow of the controversy over hoisting the national flag at Idgah Maidan, which had been carefully orchestrated by the BJP and had hogged national attention.

Shettar’s role in the controversy was of a subsidiary nature but he emerged a giantkiller thanks to the BJP strategy, and the hand of Yediyurappa was clearly seen in the gamble.

After that, what aided Shettar’s rise was the manipulative politics that Yediyurappa played to keep his rivals at bay inside the party. A one-term legislator like Shettar overnight became a leader of opposition in the Karnataka assembly, superseding many of the seniors in 1999.

The vacancy had been caused because of the shock defeat of Yediyurappa in his home constituency, Shikaripur. Yediyurappa was averse to the post going to anybody else, with senior leaders like B.B. Shivappa, former state party present from Hassan, being one of the main aspirants.

Yediyurappa preferred a rank junior like Shettar, who would be able to keep the seat warm when he would enter the assembly again, which he did in the next elections in 2004. Shettar quietly paved way for Yeddyurappa assuming the role of the Leader of the Opposition once again.

But in 2004 a new situation arose.

The post of the party president fell vacant with the incumbent Basavaraj Patil Sedam demitting his office after the expiry of the term. And Yediyurappa once again plumped for his trusted understudy and as a consequence Shettar moved up one more notch to become the state party president.

In the coalition government which BJP formed in 2006 with the Janata Dal (Secular), Shettar became a minister for the first time.

Shettar, who had seen the benefits of being faithful and friendly with Yediyurappa, soon experienced the latter’s ire. Thus, Shettar was deliberately denied a berth in the first full-fledged BJP government in 2008.

Shetttar sulked publicly and chose to stay away from the swearing-in ceremony when the national leadership of the BJP had descended on Bangalore to witness the historic occasion of the BJP opening its account in the South of the Vindhyas.

Thanks to the intervention of the national leadership, Yediyurappa, who had firmly set his foot against giving a ministerial berth to Shettar, was prevailed upon to make him the Assembly Speaker. Shettar was initially reluctant to accept but had to do so since there was no alternative.

What he did as Speaker is history.

He played a key role in “Operation Kamala” engineered by Yediyurappa with the connivance of the Reddy group of ministers to entice the opposition legislators into BJP with a view to help party gain majority on its own in the 224 member assembly.

He exercised the powers vested in him as Speaker in favour of Yediyurappa by quickly accepting the resignations submitted by the aspirants from the opposition much to the discomfiture of Congress and the JDS, in a manner reminiscent of what Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed did in the seventies in signing Indira Gandhi‘s proclamation of Emergency, despite the procedural flaws in the move.

On two occasions, Shettar very nearly became the Chief Minister but for Yediyurappa.

During the open rebellion by the Reddy group, Shettar emerged as their chosen candidate to replace Yediyurappa.

Later when Yediyurappa had to step down from office in the wake of his indictment by Lok Ayukta, Yediyurappa was unwilling to accept Shettar’s candidature as his successor and got him defeated by forcing the election at the legislature party meet.

Twice bitten, Shettar, who had in the meantime become Minister, was unwilling to take a risk this time. He made up with Yediyurappa as a consequence of which he was considered an apt replacement for D.V. Sadananda Gowda whom Yediyurappa was hell bent on pulling down and helped Shettar to make his dream come true.

A daunting task awaits Shettar as he steps into his new role. The party is a shambles; its image has taken a battering because .of the internecine quarrels and has a fresh election to face in less than ten months.

It remains to be seen how a grateful Shettar would oblige his friend turned foe turned friend, Yediyurappa, in his new avatar.  He has  two options left. He can hang on to the umbilical chord of Yediyurappa and kowtow to his every whim and fancy, especially in shielding him from the maze of the legal cases surrounding him.

If he wants to cut away the chord Shettar risks the fate that awaited his predecessor Sadananda Gowda, who as a friend-turned foe of Yediyurappa made it to the chair of the Chief Minister but lost it in 11 months.

File photograph: Jagadish Shettar with his wife Shilpa (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read: Why ‘Oye Lucky‘ could be Jagadish Shettar‘s film

Has Yediyurappa melted the Loh in Loh Purush?

9 July 2012

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: The BJP high command is neither high nor has any command left.  This stark truth emerges succinctly from the manner in which the BJP high command has been ineptly handling dissidence in the Karnataka BJP which is threatening the existence of the first saffron ministry south of Vindhyas.

At a time party should have pulled up its socks to take on the scam-tainted Congress in the forthcoming general elections, the BJP has been presenting the inedible face of a party which is unable to manage its own internal crises and has allowed the canker of dissidence to develop into a Frankenstein‘s monster as it were.

The younger generation of party leadership which was put in place with great flourish as a process of transition from the Atal Behari Vajpayee and Lalchand Kishinchand Advani era, has proved to the hilt that the party can longer claim to be a party with difference and that it consists of men with feet of clay, who have more faith in the political opportunism than in principled, value-based tactics.

Even the patriarch Advani finds himself unable to stem the developments and has allowed himself to be a passive spectator. How else can one explain the strange phenomenon of the party compromising on party discipline and as a matter of fact appearing to pamper its lack of it, off and on?

The party leadership hardly moved when the group of three ministers comprising of the Reddy trio openly raised a banner of revolt demanding the change of leadership of the Yediyurappa government and resorted to the politics of herding the supporting legislators to the resorts.

The party chose to turn a blind eye to the indiscretion and instead worked overtime to bring about a compromise.

All those who had challenged the leadership were allowed to get away, even without a warning.  The complaints about the style of working of the then chief minster were pushed under the carpet, by a leadership which refused to take cognizance of the ground realities in Karnataka.

The repeated tantrums thrown up by Yediyurappa has been sum product of the laissez faire attitude of the national party in the matter of enforcing the party discipline.

Ever since he was asked to step down in the light of indictment by the Lokayukta report on the illegal mining and plethora of land denotification cases which resulted in his arrest, Yediyurappa has become a bugbear to the party’s leadership.

When he was asked to quit in the light of the scam report, Yeddyurappa demurred deliberately.

When he had to ultimately yield, he did  so after making it amply clear that it was his, rather than the party’s, writ which ran as for as Karnataka affairs was concerned.  He forced an election on the choice of his successor and defeated the nominee of the high command.

Sadananda Gowda was his nominee for the post and Gowda defeated Jagadish Shettar, who had the backing of the high command.

The high command had no problem with the new chief minister and as a matter of fact it was appreciative of the work being done by him in providing a  clean government and taking care to keep the family members at a distance unlike what had happened during his predecessor’s days.

However, Gowda’s effort to run a government independent of his mentor angered Yediyurappa like anything and he started an open campaign seeking his removal. But now the tables have turned and Yediyurappa has successfully sought the removal of the very man he had installed in office and wanted him to be replaced by Jagadish Shettar who in the meantime had been weaned into his camp.

Initially, the high command was not willing to concede and backed the beleaguered Sadananda Gowda to the hilt.  But it dropped him like a hot potato when Yediyurappa held out the threat of precipitating the crisis by making group of nine ministers belonging to his camp to resign en masse.

The high command became panicky and had to give in to the pressures tactics of Yediyurappa.

The crop of the second-generation leadership which is at the helms of affairs was the first to cave in to the dictates of Yediyurappa and lobbed the ball in the court of the patriarch Advani before making the final announcement.

Advani  had always stood for a firm stand against those who have been making open mockery of the party discipline.

At one stage he was reportedly of the view that the party should go for a fresh mandate in Karnataka instead succumbing to the pressures of the Yediyurappa group.  But he had no option but to fall in line in the light of the combined pressure of the younger group that it is important to save the party juncture at this stage instead of taking a risk of fresh poll.

And Advani had to yield and going by the newspaper reports “with tears in his eyes”.

Even the “iron” in the “iron man” (Loh Purush) has started melting. And that is the tragedy of the BJP under the dispensation of younger generation, which is more interested in the power game than anything else.

Cartoon: courtesy Surendra/ The Hindu

Also read: ‘BJP has fallen prey to politician-entrepreneurs’

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CHURUMURI POLL: Will BSY-BJP peace last?

2 July 2012

Yet another episode of the BJP’s non-stop nataka in Karnataka has come to an end—a quiet, wimpish end after all the fire-breathing over the weekend—but the big question still remains: is this really the end or just a temporary, mutually agreed cessation of hostilities before resumption of normal service?

On the face of it, it seems as if both sides—the B.S. Yediyurappa camp and the BJP high command—are buying time. Both are hoping the numbers of either side will whittle down. But deep down, both are afraid: Yediyurappa isn’t sure if he can be the force he is without the BJP; the party isn’t sure if it can ever win without him. Hence the repeated brinkmanship.

However, the larger issue is the use of political blackmail as a form of statecraft while the affairs of the State take a backseat with painful periodicity. The Yediyurappa gang blackmails the incumbent D.V. Sadananda Gowda with its ultimatums; the high command returns the favour.

The latest episode has come to an end only because the presidential elections are around the corner and the BJP would not like to be seen as a house divided in the eyes of the nation. As it is, it is having to counter the negative publicity being generated by Keshubhai Patel‘s antics against Narendra Modi in Gujarat.

Question: Could Yediyurappa’s nataka start all over again?

Also read: What should the BJP do about Yediyurappa problem?

CHURUMURI POLL: All over for Yediyurappa?

How much longer will BSY stay in BJP?

CHURUMURI POLL: Will BJP dump BSY?

CHURUMURI POLL: Yediyurappa as CM again?

India’s most photogenic former CM strikes again

17 May 2012

If only B.S. Yediyurappa wasn’t striking this pose in flesh and blood while visiting his new office in Malleshwaram (that will be inaugurated in Bangalore on Friday), his fans and followers could have accused us of morphing his pictures.

That’s picture no.33 in the world’s best portfolio of photographs of the former Karnataka chief minister.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also view: The world’s best pictures of B.S. Yediyurappa

What should BJP do about Yediyurappa problem?

14 May 2012

The BJP’s disgraceful nataka in Karnataka continues without a pause. Nary a fortnight passes without TV viewers and newspaper readers being woken up to the now familiar anthem of name-calling, muscle-flexing and shadow-boxing. And so it is this May in the year of the lord 2011.

After breathing fire and brimstone over the CBI probe okayed by the Supreme Court into B.S. Yediyurappa‘s wheeling and dealing, and after merrily slapping their thighs all weekend, the nation’s most ethically, morally, financially and sexually challenged bunch of legislators have now tucked their tail between their legs for another day.

Which will be some day soon.

After praising Sonia Gandhi one afternoon and threatening to resign from the party and bring down the government, the former chief minister has said he will not quit party for now and assumed his familiar position as the nuisance maker whom the BJP cannot swallow or spit out if it doesn’t want to lose the keys to the gateway to the South.

So, it’s back to status quo ante. A severely hobbled State government which doesn’t know if it is staying or going. A chief minister who doesn’t know if he is talking to friend or foe. An administration that is driving the State down to the dust, in a season of drought and despair. And a State whose reputation is being wrecked on a daily basis.

Question: what can the BJP do to get out of this hole?

***

Photograph: Former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa leaves the Siddaganga mutt in Tumkur after calling on Sri Shivakumara swamiji  on Monday (Karnataka Photo News)

***

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: All over for Yedi?

How much longer will BSY stay in BJP?

CHURUMURI POLL: Will BJP dump BSY?

CHURUMURI POLL: Yediyurappa as CM again?

CHURUMURI POLL: All over for Yediyurappa?

28 February 2012

The bottomline of the five headlines— “The high command had promised to reinstate me as CM in six months.” ” I won’t go to Delhi seeking CM’s chair.” “Untrustworthy people ditched BSY.” “BSY reinstatement chances bleak.” “Not many options before BSY.”—is that the BJP appears to have finally called the bluff on B.S. Yediyurappa.

Since his unceremonious ouster eight months ago, the former chief minister had, by turns, been sulking, simmering and scheming to return to the seat he once occupied but from which he was unceremoniously toppled under a haze of corruption charges involving the denotification and illegal mining scams.

Even the ignominy of a jail stint didn’t quell his ambitions, nor did it stop the Lingayat mutt heads—and the “leaders” seen with him—from making his return a caste issue.

So, what next for Yediyurappa? Will he stomach the insult and continue in the BJP? Will he bide his time till the elections? Will he split the BJP and join hands with Congress rebels to kickstart that outstanding party of clean politics, Sharad Pawar‘s NCP in the State? Does he still have some draw?

Or, is it all over for BSY bar the counting?

Also read: How much longer will BSY stay in BJP?

CHURUMURI POLL: Will BJP dump BSY?

CHURUMURI POLL: Yediyurappa as CM again?

What’s in Poo’s name? Try asking Dr Bum Ramesh

12 February 2012

External affairs minister S.M. Krishna may consider himself a tennis connoisseur, but the Kannada film industry already has a "Tennis" Krishna

VIKRAM MUTHANNA writes: Many Indian kids, after they grow up, have trouble with long, tongue twisting names. Luckily we have nicknames to rescue us. But sometimes nicknames too become just as bad, especially when they have double meanings like say ‘Dicka uncle.’

Even shortening Indian names can some-times be dicey with Pooja lovingly becoming Poo.

Unfortunately, when it comes to nicknames, generally English names are used. And they are used to the point one is left wondering if it is really true. It is said that there is a couple named Happy and Gay! I guess they’ll be naming their kid ‘Glee.’ But by far, if you are a native of Mysore you will love the names adopted by some of our local “heroes” — people who put either their profession before their name or the name of an animal.

There is ‘Tiger’ Ramesh. I am waiting for a day to meet him so I can have the pleasure of being amused by introducing myself to him as, “Hi, I am ‘Panther’ Muthanna.” Wonder if he too will be amused and may be feel an immediate sense of feline bonding.

Then there is ‘Cat’ Balu, no not because he is ‘cool cat’ or light-footed, but apparently because he has green eyes.

Then there is the famous ‘Choori Loki’ (Dagger Lokesh). How he got this threatening name is an interesting story. When in college, all of us had heard of this guy. He supposedly was a rowdy and everyone was wary of him. After all, if he has ‘Choori’ as his first name, he must be a dangerous man. But years later we heard the origin of his name.

It seems Lokesh used to hang around with rowdy-type characters all the time but was never himself one. One day there was a clash between the boys he hung out with and another group. Lokesh was caught in the crossfire and one of the rowdies knifed him in his buttocks. He was rushed with a bleeding bum to the hospital.

Soon, he became the ‘butt’ of ‘buttock jokes’ and his friends named him ‘Choori Loki.’ And no one bothered to ask why he was named ‘Choori’, instead they simply assumed he was the perpetrator of pain and not the victim. Choori Loki too noticed the newfound respect that he commanded and kept mum about his story.

There are numerous such names from ‘Chirathe’ (leopard) Manju to ‘Kardi’ (bear) Balu. All nicknames created in their younger days have now become their unofficially-official names. In fact they believe their name helps increase their recall value.

Some of them are in politics and when their real names are published, they call the office the next day and request that their “business” name be used.

Even our Kannada film stars have interesting prefix to their names. There is the ‘Rebel Star’ Ambarish, ‘Golden Star’ Ganesh, ‘Challenging Star’ Darshan and ‘Power Star’ Puneeth Rajkumar. We love prefixes. Yes, indeed, you may have worked hard for Dr. prefix, but the above prefixes are a lot more “cooler” and unique.

In Mysore, it’s common for people to use a person’s profession as prefix to their name.

The popular example would be our “Snake” Shyam, the man who has been catching snakes in houses for free and doing Mysoreans a great service. His real name is Mirle Subbarao Balasubramanium! Call him this and he himself will not respond. But “Snake” Shyam, everyone knows and he willingly responds.

Another example is our former ex-Mayor Sandesh Swamy. His real name is Sithapura Satish. Satish became Sandesh Swamy as the Hotel Sandesh The Prince is owned by his family and Swamy is his nickname. In fact, his older brother, who is an MLC, is addressed popularly as Sandesh Nagaraj, his real name is Sithapur Nagaraj.

So may be some people may call me ‘Writer Muthanna.’ But that’s not too bad compared to a piles doctor — ‘Dr Bum Ramesh.’

To add to this, some people are given their physical attribute as prefix before their name such as ‘DhadiyaLokesh (Giant Lokesh) or ‘Kari’ Nagesh (Dark Nagesh). It may sound quite derogatory but it’s just a name created for recognisability.

Once they are recognised, they want luck to be an add-on. So, many politicians now have begun changing the spelling of their names to change their luck.

In Mysore, the first popular name change story was that of the Chamaraja Constituency MLA late Harsha Kumar Gowda. It is said that when he was initially just Harsha Kumar, he contested for MLA election twice and lost. Then he was advised to add ‘Gowda’ for luck. It worked and he won the third time.

More than numerology, may be the ‘Gowda’ add-on helped affirm his allegiance to a community and get him the votes because after the first term, this name change strategy never worked because another man with the ‘Gowda’ suffix came into the fray—H.SShankaralinge Gowda—who has won from Chamaraja constituency ever since.

Luckily nobody advised Harsha Kumar Gowda to add another ‘Gowda’ to his name making him double-Gowda.

The other famous name change was that of our District In-charge Minister who became S.A. Ramdas, he found it unlucky being just an A. Ramdas. Then our former Chief Minister became B.S. Yeddyurappa from B.S. Yediyurappa, our MP Vishwanath became Adagur H. Vishwanath from being just H. Vishwanath.

Well, how much does this work?

It’s going well for Ramdas, it’s going great for Vishwanath but what about Yeddy? Some numerologists may defend it saying that if not for the spelling change, Yeddyurappa would still be in jail. So we wonder if he should go for another spelling change to reclaim his CM chair or else he may just disappear into political oblivion as “Yeddyyarappa (Who’s Yeddy)?”

The same trend exists among ordinary citizens of India. May be numerology is a science. May be it is not. But while everyone is changing their names, while all our politicians are busy changing the spelling of their names to get ahead in life, has anyone thought of our motherland?

Ever since independence, we have had too much trouble; we have been “forever a developing” nation but never getting to be “developed” one. May be this streak of dosha (bad luck) can be ended with the name change or a spelling change. It’s surprising that while all governments are busy changing their States’ names, and our leaders changing their names for better forunes, no on has bothered about a name change or at least a spelling change for our nation.

May be if we change the spelling of India to Endia or Indiya, this nation’s fortunes could change.

What an idea, Sirji?

No… it’s just numerology.

(Vikram Muthanna is the managing editor of the evening daily Star of Mysore, where this piece originally appeared)

***

Also read: Why Snoop Doggy Dogg won’t play in Mysore

Coming: Nimmoppan experiments with untruths

Jinchaak: gaargeous like a baambshell

Coming soon: Mission Impossible III in Kannada

Boosa, kuule, woost, matash: a short dictionary

Does jail mean ‘guilty’, bail mean ‘innocent’?

23 January 2012

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Ajji gawked at the TV screen as she watched the news.

“What happened, Ajji? Something wrong?”

“This fellow kammenwelthnalli Englandninda dodda chhatri chhatri tharisda alva?”

“Yes, Ajji. That is Suresh Kalmadi. He was the chairman of the organising committee of the Commonwealth Games (CWG), who organised the import of jumbo-size umbrellas!”

“Wasn’t he sent to jail for wrong doing while organising the games?”

‘Yes. He was in jail for nine months; now he is out on bail. Along with him all his colleagues have also been released.”

Hagandre? They are all innocent or guilty.”

“Nobody knows that yet, Ajji.”

Shiva, Shiva. They also released all company people, fillum people on two gee skyam.”

“Yes.”

“They released that girl, Thiru Karunanidhi’s daughter, Kanimozhi also?”

“She was released last month, Ajji.”

“If they released Kalmadi, Kanimozhi et al, who is the kalla/kalli in CWG or 2G?”

“The real thief? Nobody knows, Ajji. They have all got bail now. By the time they decide that, your granddaughter born last month would have become an Ajji!”

“How come these people who are coming out of jail want their positions back. Yediyurappa wants to become CM,  his supporters are disrupting meeting of present CM asking him to  resign and keep up the ‘promise’ given to Yedi. Kalmadi’s supporters already want him as chief of IOA for the extraordinary general meeting, and are talking about the great service rendered by him.”

“Yes, Ajji.”

“Isn’t there any sense of shame left any more? People who were arrested on serious charges, just because they get bail, they are treated like heroes as if they have done something fantastic. Crackers are burst, sweets are distributed. What is this nonsense, kano?”

“They think bail = not guilty, ashte Ajji.”

“Now I hear that the ‘Trichy 29’, the group of robbers who robbed cashiers in a bank have also applied for bail! They will also get bail I am sure.”

“Quite  possible, Ajji.”

Rama, Rama. Then who is left in jail, only petty thieves, pickpockets, chain snatchers who can’t afford  money to get bail, I guess.”

“Yes, Ajii.”

Devare kaapadbeku ee deshana!”

“Even God has given up, Ajji. He seems to have abdicated his responsibility. Now it is taken over by swamigalu, matadhipathis. Some swamijis have petitioned that Yediyurappa should be brought back as CM.”

Ayyo devare! At this rate I am sure the ‘Trichy 29’ will come to power in Tamil Nadu and form a ministry. This has happened before there.”

I agreed with Ajji.

The only reason why Yediyurappa should return

14 January 2012

His chamchas and chelas, his followers and factotums, have dozens of reasons for B.S. Yediyurappa‘s return. But if there is one genuine reason why the newspaper reading world should forgive his sins and welcome him with open arms, it is because the scam-tainted former Karnataka chief minister’s is a news photographer’s dream come true.

Here, he arrives in his usual style for the inauguration of a fete at Karegodi Rangapura in Tumkur district on Saturday. –

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

***

Also view: The best Yediyurappa pictures on planet earth

CHURUMURI POLL: Yediyurappa as CM again?

CHURUMURI POLL: Yediyurappa as CM again?

20 December 2011

There is nothing like the aphrodisiac called power; it corrects all electile dysfunctions in a democracy. Barely five months ago, B.S. Yediyurappa was the black sheep of the BJP, kicking and screaming as he was led away to slaughter in full public view by his party which wanted to appear to the world that it was doing the right and correct thing in removing him from office following his indictment by the Lok Ayukta in the illegal mining scam.

“I will be back in six months,” were Yediyurappa’s ominous last words even as his protege D.V. Sadananada Gowda was taking charge as his successor. A stint in the central jail in Bangalore, after being named in a denotification scam, would have chastened normal human beings, but his “triumphant release” and the stinging defeat of the BJP in the Bellary by-elections have only embolded supporters to think that the ‘Return of the Yedi’ is round the corner.

First, all but three BJP members of Parliament reportedly told the party high command last week that they wanted him back as CM. And now, Yediyurappa himself has been quoted as saying “there is a feeling” in the BJP that he should occupy the hot seat again. He is even conducting special yagnas for his return, with Shobha Karandlaje in tow. With Gowda facing a crucial election saying that he will vacate if asked to, the scene is set, especially with rumours that Yediyurappa might split the party and hitch forces with Sharad Pawar‘s NCP if denied the chair.

Should Yediyurappa return? Will he? Has he paid for his transgressions with a mere jail stint? Will allowing him to return help or the harm the BJP’s image? And what happens to Sadananda Gowda?

CHURUMURI POLL: Should S.M. Krishna resign?

8 December 2011

As the nation’s external affairs minister, Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna knows that it is a small world he lords over—what goes around, comes around. So just months after he threatened to sue The Times of India, Bangalore, for suggesting that he was involved in the illegal mining scam comes news that he has indeed been named in a first information report (FIR) for issuance of mining licences during his tenure as the chief minister of Karnataka.

With all the faux sophistication he can muster, S.M. Krishna denies the charge. But for a Union government that is  trying to stave off a crisis involving another minister (P. Chidambaram) whom his detractors have tried to implicate in the 2G scam, the naming of Krishna comes at a particularly inopportune time. Krishna, for his part, says his “legal team” will take appropriate action at the appropriate time, but the Opposition has smelt blood.

With B.S. Yediyurappa having had to resign in the wake of the Lok Ayukta indictment in the mining scam, and having had to spend a fortnight in the cooler on the basis of a “private complaint”, the question is going to asked, why should not Krishna resign till he is proven innocent? Will Krishna’s protestations of no loss to the government, or no gains for himself, convince the BJP? Is a private compliant all it takes to bring people in power down?

And, tongue firmly in cheek, if Krishna quits, who is going to read the Portuguese speeches for the UPA?

Also read: Just one question I’m dying to ask S.M. Krishna

Our Man from Maddur is shorter than you think

CHURUMURI POLL: Will S.M. Krishna last his term?

Who is this man who has S.M. Krishna‘s left ear?

Can Maddur vade usher in peace in the subcontinent?

12 reasons why Ashwin didn’t take a second run

29 November 2011

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Offspinnner Ravichandran Ashwin’s heroics or lack of it is was hotly discussed all across the cricket-playing parts of India over the weekend, after India drew the third Test match against the West Indies in Bombay, falling short of their target by a mere one run.

While Ashwin’s ‘cool head’, in playing a defensive prod off the penultimate ball that made sure India didn’t lose the Test, came in for appreciation, critics jumped at his unjustifyable delay in galloping to the other end, thus being unable to complete the second run for an Indian victory.

In short, opinions are divided as they usually are and as indeed they were when Ravi Shastri handed back the strike to Maninder Singh in the famous tied Test against Australia 25 years ago.

Should he have? Or shouldn’t he?

Nevertheless, we must understand that too many things were happening too quickly for an youngster playing his first series: a dream debut, lots of wickets, a century, man-of-the-match, man-of-the-series, and a marriage thrown in between the first two Tests.

Too much, I say!

But how was our all-knowing, all-seeing political class viewing Ashwin’s heroics or lack of it?

Arun Jaitley: Ashwin’s miscommunication with Varun Aaron resulted in this. We demand a joint parliamentary committee or a full discussion in the public accounts committee.

Ajay Maken: Had BCCI come under RTI, such confusion wouldn’t have arisen, as I would have put a memo in his pocket on how to run a second run.

Mamata Banerjee: The imminent opening of FDI in retail must have so upset the little boy that he didn’t even bother to take the second run.

B.S. Yediyurappa: If only the Maharashtra chief minister had promised a 80×50 site, he would easily have taken 3 runs, one more than what was needed.

Mayawati: Had Rahul Gandhi not camped here all month in UP, thus diverting the natin’s attention, Ashwin would have definitely taken the second run.

Rahul Gandhi: Ashwin might have been thinking about corruption in UP, hence didn’t even bother about match or even cricket.

Karunanidhi: If Jayalalitha had given at least 50% of her saris to the just-married Ashwin’s wife, he would be running even now!

Jayalalitha: Ashwin already wears dark glasses like DMK chief; that may be one reason why he didn’t run the second run.

Shashi Tharoor: If only he was tweeting, he would have run like a bird!

Krishnamachari Srikkanth: Honestly speaking, I had told what –his- name, to run faster. Don’t forget, he might have forgotten whatever I told him.

Sonia Gandhi: Ashwin soon will get a better pair of shoes from Wal-Mart which will make him run faster.

Manmohan Singh: Yes.

Because, well, the s**t has hit the ceiling fan

21 November 2011

The BJP’s disgraceful tandav with democracy in Karnataka is coming full circle in Bellary. It was from the mineral-rich district that the party’s ascent towards power and the State’s descent towards anarchy began in 1999, when Sushma Swaraj rode on the shoulders of the Reddy brothers to take on Sonia Gandhi in the Lok Sabha elections.

A week is a long time in politics; a decade is an eon.

Now Sushma Swaraj has washed her hands off the Reddy brothers. One of the Reddy brothers is in jail. B.S. Yediyurappa, who owed his chief ministerial position to the brothers’ “purchasing power”, has just about managed to come out of it here. The rape of the mines has come to a pause after the Lok Ayukta report.

And the Reddy brothers have declared revolt.

Their Man Friday, B. Sriramulu, who quit the legislative assembly after new chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda would not accommodate him in the cabinet, has quit the BJP, necessitating a poll. And he is now standing as an independent candidate, ranged against the very party he and his benefactors propped up with their dirty money.

As if to show that the ore has hit the roof, the Election Commission has allotted Sriramulu a ceiling fan as his election symbol. Which is held up like an exhaust fan behind him by an aide as he addresses a street-corner meeting, on Monday. Meanwhile, as Yediyurappa prepares to campaign against him (and the Reddy brothers), the tandav continues.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

M.Y. Ghorpade: maharaja, minister & a lensman

29 October 2011

It is one of life’s ironies that Bellary that is now the byword for mind-numbing, blood-curdling corruption of the Reddy brothers’ kind, also produced Murari Yeshwantrao Ghorpade, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 79.

Son of the erstwhile ruler of the kingdom of Sandur, which falls in what is now Bellary, M.Y. Ghorpade (seven-time MLA from Sandur) handled the finance and rural development ministries with aplomb, a stint which saw the State take a lead role in Panchayat Raj.

In a recent interview in the Economic Times, Ghorpade, chairman-emeritus of Sandur manganese and iron ores, reminisced on the horrific notoriety of his home-district:

“We have a strange reputation of following all the rules over the last 50 years. This corruption will finish us off. To see Sandur also not free from this makes me very, very sad. The mistake that was made was that small mines were distributed like toffees and chocolates. Now these people are not able to supervise operations or add value to the business.”

Unlike politicians of the Parappana Agrahara kind who spent their working days more as real estate brokers trying to gobble up every square inch possible, Ghorpade, did just the opposite some weeks ago: he offered to donate 150 acres that were part of his inheritance to nature conservation.

A Cambridge post-graduate in economics, Ghorpade was also an award-winning wildlife photographer, his black and white pictures winning several national and international prizes. In 1983, he becomes the first wildlife photographer in the world to be honoured with the prestigious International Award of Master Photographer.

Photograph: via Karnataka Photo News

Also read: A wise man sees not the same trees a fool does

How a Ghorpade came to be called a Ghorpade

Raichur malnutrition deaths & BJP ‘governance’

27 October 2011

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: More than 2,600 children under 6 years of age—that’s two-thousand-six-hundred children under six years of age—are reported to have died of malnutrition in Raichur district over the past two years as per data provided by the women and child welfare department.

The irony couldn’t have been more stark or striking: hot and arid Raichur is, after all, home for India’s only active goldmine, Hutti, in Lingasugar taluk. Another 4,500 children are reported to be on their deathbed due to malnutrition in Deoburg and Manvi taluks  of Raichur.

“The entire system has collapsed. It has now become a sociopolitical and economic issue. Karnataka claims to be a progressive state but look at what is happening in these villages,” Dr Akhila Vasan, a child healthcare expert and worker, has been quoted as saying.

Yet, the response of the State government, whose leading figures utter the words “governance” and “development agenda” like a stuck record, is stunning to be believed.

B.S. Yediyurappa, who took a chopper to every known and unknown temple and mutt to save himself from the long arm of the law, and his BJP colleagues who are cooling their heels in Parappana Agrahara, never found time to visit these villages and take effective steps.

The minister for child and women’s welfare C.C. Patil, who was directed by new chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda to visit the district by September 26, has still not found the time, and it is already October 27.

The minister for medical education, S.A. Ramadas, who was  busy splurging taxpayers’ money and hogging all the limelight during Dasara, hasn’t heard of this or hasn’t been bothered enough to respond. Leave alone visiting the affected villages, he hasn’t stepped out of Mysore, fearing he might be upstaged by his friend-turned-foe–cum-colleague Shobha Karandlaje.

And, needles to say, the State’s health minister has been missing in action. So, who was the State’s health minister under Yediyurappa the last two years? B. Sriramulu.

Aha, that explains everything.

Graphics: courtesy Mail Today and Frontline

External reading: Hard to follow

CHURUMURI POLL: Advani yatra in Karnataka?

24 October 2011

Lalchand Kishinchand Advani‘s near-comical anti-corruption yatra—with the HUDCO scam-tainted Ananth Kumar (whose links with the 2G scam tainted Niira Radia are well known) as the navigator—has predictably taken a farcical turn even before the rath rolls into BJP’s gateway to the south, Karnataka.

With minister after dishonourable minister, led by the former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa, warming cell after VIP cell at the central jail in Parapanna Agrahara, and more on the way, the hypocricy of Advani’s “antim yatra” is there for all to see: should he or shouldn’t he visit “India’s most corrupt State“?

Orignally, the plan was that the “former future prime minister of India” would bravely wade through the “mine”field that the Reddy brothers have rendered of Karnataka. Then, as the noose tightened around several BJP ministerial necks over the denotification scam, it was amended.

Yes, he would come to the State, but only to the coastal parts, not Bangalore, where Yediyurappa & Co are spending a dark Deepavali and Dhanteras. But, before the world could digest the flip-flop, it was clarified that Advani would stick to his original gameplan and visit the State capital on October 30, as the Ananth Kumar faction, which reportedly wants Yediyurappa expelled, wanted.

Before Team Advani changes its mind again, here’s the question: should Advani visit Karnataka? With what face can he rant against corruption when a BJP-ruled State can very nearly be run from the central jail, or when his own navigator is not beyond scrutiny? And if he does make it to Karnataka, what should be Advani’s sentinel message?

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: L.K. Advani‘s antim yatra?

CHURUMURI POLL: Will the BJP dump B.S. Yediyurappa?

How China changed the politics of Karnataka

CHURUMURI POLL: India’s most corrupt CM?

How the BJP completely lost the plot in Karnataka

Those who live by the Reddys shall die by them


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