(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
The joke is on Siddaramaiah.
The former Karnataka chief minister had dubbed Janata Dal (Secular) as the B team of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the run-up to the Karnataka elections last month.
It would appear that he and his supporting MLAs and ministers today snugly fit the inscription as BJP’s B team themselves!!!
Siddaramaiah was hung out to dry by Congress leadership after the party lost the Karnataka elections and 17 of his ministers were made to bite the dust. Siddaramaiah contested from two seats and barely won from one.
Since then, the downturn in his fortunes has only gathered pace. HD Kumaraswamy, the usurper of his CM seat, ignores him as car drivers do beggars at street lights. Every time there is an issue, Kumaraswamy rushes to Rahul Gandhi in the Capital. When he went public against the Kumaraswamy-drafted State budget, Siddaramaiah was asked to mind his own business by the high command. And now there is a crimiinal FIR against Siddaramaiah in a Land Notification’s case by Kumaraswamy’s police!
Siddaramaiah is not alone. His loyalists include many present and former legislators are miffed at being ignored in the present state cabinet. These include MLAs Byrati Basavaraj, ST Somashekhar and Muniratna. Even Ramesh Jarkholi, who has been given a Cabinet berth after his supporters burnt tyres in front of the Raj Bhavan, had come out in support of Siddaramaiah. Important Congress leaders like HC Balakrishna, N. Cheluvaraya Swamy and former minister PM Narendraswamy are holding meetings in his support.
Siddaramaiah, that old fox, certainly knows a trick or two. As head of the coordination committee between Congress and JD(S), he is now driving hard for a bargain for his supporters. The prize in front of them are Cabinet berths in the next expansion. Most critically, they have set their eyes upon 30 posts of Chairman for various boards and corporations. As a sop, Siddaramaiah is being offered a Cabinet berth.
You readers are only being logical if you question why Congress central command is not being able to rein in Siddaramaiah? Further, why Siddaramaiah is not being able to stop the disquiet among his supporters for perks and posts? The answer is obvious: there is such a groovy train which has run on their tracks for the last five years in Karnataka that everyone knows each other’s dirty secrets, hoarded jewellery or stashed-away millions.
In normal times, such ambitions could easily have been accommodated. Innovative portfolios, like the Pooh Ministry, could have been floated. But this is now a coalition government—the one with their sworn enemy JD(S) being the face of power. JD(S) themselves have been parched for powers for years and are eager to dip into the pond of gratification. Egos and insecurity are the two other chlorines in the water.
And BJP? They are in no hurry to bring down the government. Indeed, the longer this alliance stays in saddle, the better it is for them. Thus the BJP might miss out on Karnataka, but they could showcase this mirror in run-up to the 2019 General Elections. The Karnataka analogy would make “mahagathbandhan” look some kind of joke on the voters. BJP could also question media (and judiciary) for being on testosterone steroids around the Karnataka Elections—only to go limp and flaccid once the Congress-JD(S) bonhomie began shedding its clothes. All those photo-ops of holding hands aloft at swearing-in in Bengaluru; Mamata and Mayawati; Akhilesh and Tejaswi Yadav; Kejriwal and Yechury; Chandrababu Naidu and Ajit Singh, calling it “victory for Democracy” appearing such a scam to people.
Just think about it: such lumpen and unscrupulous elements of Indian politics are being glorified in our newspapers every day. Lutyens Media may bury their heads in the sand stupidly unmindful that it leaves their butts in the air.
The “fake news” in our mainstream English dailies is a slow poison. This venom seizes our brains; paralyses our actions, manifests itself into a kind of plague. This wind is then seized by off-shore forces which then returns with terrifying ferocity and sinks truth into a bottomless pit.
The expansion of H.D. Kumaraswamy’s unholy government in Karnataka on Wednesday was one such news. Karnataka is important to Indians in many respects: it’s a template for opposition unity; alligators and hippos sunning together. The 6.41-crore people of the state have suffered a thousand cuts; being treated no better than cattle. First, made to lock horns; then kiss each other’s butts and finally, left to numbness inside a deep freezer. A 37-seat party chief was hoisted as Chief Minister in a 224-seat state. All in the name of “saving democracy.”
When the gates of Supreme Court were opened after midnight; it wasn’t for democracy. When Rahul Gandhi went abroad, it wasn’t for democracy. If Kumaraswamy and Congis parked themselves in the Capital, logging air miles, it wasn’t for democracy. If no portfolio has still been allocated after nearly a fortnight, it isn’t for democracy. If some ministerial berths have been left vacant, to accommodate dissenters, it isn’t for democracy.
Now look at how our mainstream English dailies have gone about their task on Thursday. Nearly everyone has headlined: “expands cabinet”. What cabinet? What expansion? Who all were there in the first place to merit the tag “expansion”? And all without portfolios?
Indian Express, which specializes in making dead bodies appear kissable, unsurprisingly took the cake in its “fake news.” It spelt out all the data: how many ministers, how many Vookaligas, who Lingayat, who Muslim, who woman, who Dalit in the “expanded” cabinet. What it skillfully hid from its readers’ view is that the event marked an open revolt among senior Congress-JDS leaders. No mention, not even a vague line as its comrade-in-arms The Hindu casually slipped in: “(it) triggered protests by the supporters of the ministerial aspirants.”
So Indian Express didn’t know about the protests. It didn’t know that HK Patil, who won the Gadag assembly seat, a minister in the outgoing Siddaramaiah government, hailed as “Tiger of Hulkoti” has openly rebelled? It didn’t know MB Patil, former water resources minister, said after the swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday: “I will call on the former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara to know why I was not included in the Cabinet…my self-respect is hurt.”
Three-time MLA from Hirekerur, BC Patil said: “MLAs who indulged in blackmail politics and those with money power have been given Cabinet berth.” Patil, an actor, producer and director, has said he would consult his constituency before taking next course of action.
TB Nagaraj, MLA from Hoskote, BK Sangameshwar, from Bhadravati, too criticized party leaders, threatening to quit party, if he didn’t get a “suitable post.”
- Satyanarana, MLA for Sira, said: “My name was on the list till last night…I am very much pained.”
Senior leader AH Vishwanath, for Hunsur, remarked: “I won’t accept the post of the Deputy Speaker (even if it comes my way).”
These are just a few MLAs. Trust me, I am leaving out almost as many who are protesting and dissenting as I have mentioned.
(As an aside, do any of your readers remember what happened to BJP’s call for a day’s strike on May 28 in Karnataka? Well, it couldn’t go ahead as Kamal Pant, ADGP, Karnataka, had put his foot down: “Calling for a bandh is illegal.” You are unlikely to have read it in your morning’s newspaper.”)
So tomorrow, when these dissenting MLAs quit, and the Congress-JDS alliance is in minority on the floor of the House, these very presstitutes would go to the town, claiming “murder of democracy.” Rahul would decry Modi-Shah duo for their fascist tendencies. The New York Times would comment that Indian democracy is subverted. Archbishops of this country would worry about the sanctity of Constitution. The “Mombatti-gangs” would hold protests around the country. A few former Election Commissioners, Chief Justices would write sanguine pieces in edit pages of “journalism of corrupt.” Randeep Surjewala, in his irritating high-pitched tone, would chew out such words: The nation can’t take it any more.
But then, be beware of the strike of the silent. You all are out there in open in your full glory. The sight is not pretty for the citizens of this country. Your echo-chamber would be of little use. Down you must go. All.
(You must know another update on “Mahagathbandan”: Mayawati and Akhilesh skipped the Iftaar Party which Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) had thrown on Wednesday. Even as celebrations of Kairana win are still on. No wonders, most MSMs have ignored it).