Karnataka has been on a slow motion ride. First, a bickering, wobbly coalition government took weeks of drama and an extra-prolonged confidence motion debate to be voted out. The suspense lingered for a few more days—would they, wouldn’t they? They finally did choose to go with the man who would otherwise have been deemed disqualified on account of his age, but without whom there could have been more mayhem. Next, the 76-year-old B S Yediyurappa ruled over the state for nearly 25 days like an emperor without a durbar, proposing and accepting his own policies at one-man Cabinet meetings—an unheard-of feat in the annals of governance.
Finally, Karnataka got itself a council of ministers. More rightly, half a Cabinet. Only 17 ministers were sworn in. Fourteen slots stay vacant, ostensibly as a gesture to the disqualified Congress-JD(S) rebels who helped topple the previous government—signalling they would be fitted in if and when they get a clearance from the Supreme Court. Naturally, 17 ministerial berths are not adequate to accommodate all aspirants from the hitherto jubilant BJP team.
Naturally, again, there are disgruntled voices out there, freely airing their grievances. Nothing unusual there. The last government fell because of a similar internal combustion. But what’s added grist to the mill is the inclusion of Lakshman Savadi, a loser in the Assembly polls. To top it, Savadi and another inductee to the Cabinet, C C Patil, were precisely the ones who had been disqualified for watching porn videos inside the assembly during BSY’s previous term as CM. Apparently, some rather involved Lingayat logic is at play. Why would names endowed with such a history bring glory and lustre to a community is a moot question.
Meanwhile, women, who comprise half the population, have one representative. Out in the districts, the floods still ravage ordinary lives. But yes, Karnataka can at least say it has a Cabinet … so things are normal.