From Vijay Mallya fleeing the country to Neelamani N Raju becoming the first woman DG & IGP of the state, people in Karnataka had a lot to talk about in 2017. We feature some personalities who made news.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will seek re-election for a second term when the state goes to polls in April-May 2018. Siddaramaiah, who has said that 2018 will most likely be his last election, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure Congress returns to power in the state. His Nava Karnataka Nirmana Yatra, which he has currently taken up, has been described as a tactic to consolidate votes from rural areas to Congress. Despite some competition from within Congress, Siddaramaiah will likely emerge as a front-runner for the CM’s post if Congress gets a clear majority in polls. Intensified movement for implementation of Mahadayi project might help him while Lingayat movement is being seen as a gambit that could go either way.
Though JD(S) has not been able to have a clear majority in Karnataka State Assembly for close to two decades now, the party led by H D Kumaraswamy is expected to be a major factor in the Assembly elections. Kumaraswamy — provided that none of the national parties get majority — will emerge a key player if Congress or BJP seek JD(S) support to form the government.It is unlikely, however, that JD(S) will have the numbers to form the government following elections next year.Kumaraswamy will be looking to improve their performance, in terms of MLAs elected, to ensure the relevance of JD(S) in state politics and also as a party as a whole.
B S Yeddyurappa
State BJP president B S Yeddyurappa will be hoping that 2018 will turn out to be a better year than 2017. After being declared the Chief Ministerial candidate of BJP, the Lingayat separate religion movement threatened to divide the Lingayat vote base for BJP this year. Yeddyurappa, a Lingayat himself, have been trying hard to weather the storm. However, he has found himself at the end of another controversy after announcing to solve the Mahadayi dispute at a Parivartana Yatra rally in Hubballi recently. His remarks have come to haunt the leader, as a section of farmers from North Karnataka have started protesting in front of the BJP office in Bengaluru. The fact that the farmers did not budge after assurances of Yeddyurappa, might have reflected badly on the leader, who is hoping for his third stint as Chief Minister.
V K Sasikala
A temporary resident of the state, Sasikala hogged the limelight during the year following her imprisonment at the Central Prisons, Parappana Agrahara for four years in a graft case. Sasikala’s political prospects in Tamil Nadu had looked bright after emerging as a leader following Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha’s death. Though her political career had appeared all but over after her imprisonment, the recent victory of T T V Dhinakaran in the RK Nagar bypoll revealed that Sasikala still wields some influence in that state. Sasikala’s imprisonment too caused a turmoil in the Prisons Department after allegations of special privileges extended to her led to the transfer of DGP H N Sathyanarayana Rao following a report
by the then IGP D Roopa.
The most high-profile exit of the year from one of the city’s IT bellweathers. Sikka stepped down as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (CEO & MD) of Infosys on August 18 and subsequently as Executive Vice Chairman on August 24 paving the way for Nandan Nilekani to step in as non-executive chairman of the board. He had taken charge of the IT services company on June 12, 2014. Sikka quit amidst constant criticism of his work from the company’s co-founders and a spate of anonymous letters. In his letter, he blamed his quitting on distractions and disruptions which had become increasingly personal and negative. He said that this had prevented the management of the company from accelerating the company’s transformation.
For the once well-known ‘King of Good Times’, 2017 was a bad year indeed. He resigned from his post as a Rajya Sabha member in May this year, barely a day before the ethics panel was supposed to meet to expel him. After fleeing to London, the liquor baron, known for his flamboyant lifestyle, has been fighting a bitter battle with debtors who he owes thousands of crores to. He was arrested formally in London two times this year, only to be let out on bail. The year 2018 also promises to be gloomy for Mallya as a Delhi court is set to hear a case on the issue of whether to declare the fugitive businessman a proclaimed offender for allegedly avoiding summons in a FERA violation case. The court had set December 18 as the last date for him to appear before the court in the matter. Legal battle against Mallya to recover loans, is also expected to make headlines in 2018.
The Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon led a battle to get the Bengaluru unit, which had received observations regarding lapses in quality compliance earlier this year, cleared by the United States Food and Drug Administration. The clearance paved the way for the company to get final marketing approvals for key biosimilars like trastuzumab and pegfilgrastim, which had been filed with US regulators from the city-based unit. Kiran Shaw was awarded the ‘Advancing Women in Science and Medicine Award for Excellence 2017 by the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research, USA. In 2018, she will be looking to expand further into the global market.
Justice Jayant Patel
Justice Patel was transferred on September 25, this year, to Allahabad HC when he was set to be elevated, prompting him to tender his resignation from judicial service. The judge was serving as acting Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court when he was transferred to Karnataka High Court in 2016. The judge was irked after being targeted as, during his tenure in Gujarat, he had ordered a CBI probe into the Ishrat Jahan encounter case of 2004, in which BJP national president Amit Shah was an accused, and monitored the probe. The controversy led the SC to host its proceedings in public domain.
Raj B Shetty
The Kannada director created a niche for himself after writing, directing and acting in the romantic comedy ‘Ondu Motteya Kathe’, which became a sleeper hit, making it one of the most popular Kannada films in 2017. He has two films lined in 2018, with the audience having high expectations from him.
K Ratna Prabha
The appointment of Ratna Prabha as Chief Secretary this year set a unique precedent in the state. This was the first time in Karnataka when both the Chief Secretary of the state and Director General and Inspector General Police, were women. The 1981 batch IAS officer succeeded Subhash Chandra Khuntia, who retired on November 30. She is the third woman to become Chief Secretary after Teresa Bhattacharya in 2000 and Malathi Das in 2006. She is set to retire from service in March 2018.
Neelamani N Raju
Neelamani N Raju entered an unchartered territory after being appointed as the first woman Director General and Inspector General of Police in Karnataka in November this year. The appointment of the 57-year-old 1983 batch officer came at a tricky time when polls are just a few months away. The IPS officer will have a very hectic four months as state police chief in 2018, owing to the polls. In December too, flare-up of communal tensions had caused a problem for police officials in the coastal district of Uttara Kannada.
Srishti - Art in transit
If Bengaluru Metro stations appear artistic, with art installations and paintings in almost all stations of Bangalore Metro Corporation Ltd, it is due to the efforts of students from Srishti - Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Apart from the splendid art works outside MG Road Metro Stations and memorable paintings inside Cubbon Park station, the collaborative project between Bengaluru Metro and the Institute has also resulted in several performances and art installations in Metro stations around the city.
This was the year that brought Kannada writer Vivek Shanbhag international acclaim, thanks to a memorable translation of ‘Ghachar Gochar’. The translation by Srinath Perur delivered the ‘Chomsky-esque’ book to the international audience. The compilation of short stories won instant international acclaim after reviews of the book in major international publications.