Straws in the wind
BENGALURU: Suresh Kumar’s outreach to forsaken hamlet
The residents of Doddane, a remote village atop a hillock in Hanuru taluk of Chamarajanagar district, had boycotted the 2019 Lok Sabha polls en masse, opposing the political breed for ignoring their demands for basic amenities. On Tuesday, they had a bigwig visitor: former BJP minister S Suresh Kumar trekked 12 km to reach out to the hurt villagers and also see first-hand what had upset them so much. It was a sweaty, uphill trek through a treacherous path to the village, with its 130 households and a population of about 700 people. An NGO had helped the village get electricity through solar power.
The only respite for Kumar was an open well with sweet water, which the villagers bank on for drinking water. The social media-savvy BJP leader later posted his experience on Facebook. “Got tired and it was a sweat bath I had had. It’s a misnomer if I call it a road which I tread. What is the mistake of these people for being sidelined. I will help them out by raising their plight at the government level,” he promised. Now that’s a telling statement for those who can read between the lines: Is it an indication that the BJP will return to power? Certainly, there’s more to it than just assuaging the villagers’ bitterness.
Lofty Congress and the humble bun
After the exit poll results were announced, voters in South Bengaluru, known to be a BJP belt, were heard cracking jokes about the opposition. An old man sitting in a park with a group of friends said, “Anna, what do you think? Will Congress make it?” While each had their own jibe to make, one old man said, “If one goes by the exit polls, the only place where Congress is doing well is Srinivasa Iyengar Bakery, DVG Road, Gandhi Bazaar!” sending everyone into peals of laughter.
The Congress he was referring to is the ‘Congress bun’, a yummy snack famous in these parts of the city. The bun is split and filled with spicy, fried peanuts of the split variety, called ‘Congress kadlekai’. How the humble bun and peanut got their political label is part of general folklore, and has its roots in the Congress split of 1969, when Indira Gandhi swept out of the Congress, parting ways with the right-leaning old guard led by Moraji Desai and S Nijalingappa. It is said that the political goings-on of those times so caught the fancy of the masses that they found the bun an apt symbol. Even today, ‘Congress’ is synonymous with the peanut snack served with the tonic of the masses.
He missed white coat, got black gown, gaddi
Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, a topper from Vidya Vardhaka School, saw his grades sink to second class in pre-university after he switched to English medium. So there was young Siddu at the career crossroads, without hope of getting an MBBS seat -- and having to deal with an upset father who wished to see him as a doctor.
When he tried to join a law course, a fellow villager from an upper caste reportedly told him that it would be difficult for a Kuruba to become a successful lawyer. But Siddu was made of sterner stuff, and had the support and blessings of Prof M D Nanjudaswamy and socialist forum leader Pa Mallesh. They pushed him to try his luck in politics, and the young lawyer took to public life with ease. The rest is history -- a climb from foot soldier to commander, he is also famous for his financial acumen and 13 budgets. Degree be damned!
Horatti’s trick to unite allies
It has been a season of outbursts. Recently, it was JDS leader Basavaraj Horatti’s turn to allege that Congress leaders were “torturing” JDS leaders, and it was best to end the alliance and the coalition government. There was some hurried patch-up by leaders from both sides, with the Congress taking up for Horatti too. Health Minister Shivananda Patil claimed it was Horatti’s way to unite the sparring leaders and infuse new spirit into the coalition dharma. “Horatti’s intention is not to dissolve the coalition government but to bring all leaders of the alliance as one. It is a political trick of Horatti to scare other leaders. It holds a different meaning.” Well, whatever MLC Horatti said or meant, the explanations came from those who wanted to save their seats. Politics, as they say, is a game, and the best player survives.