Thursday, October 13, 2011

Swearing Allegiance to One's Masters

Sadananda Gowda & Manmohan Singh - Different at the outset, a lot in common


Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadanda Gowda, at a BJP meeting in Belgaum on October 10, said that he met the “accidental prime minister” Manmohan Singh recently in Delhi and empathised with him as he too was an “accidental chief minister” - a statement that was, predictably, met with instant laughter and choreographed applause.

If anything, Gowda was at his subtle best in conveying the truth. None expected either the Oxford educated Singh or the incumbent chief minister of Karnataka to be pitch forked into political prominence as they find themselves in today, and were done so only after other options in the respective party armouries were either exhausted or impractical. Despite them being their party’s mascots - their soft demeanours vital to the survival of the two parties - the decisions and statements of the two continue to be viewed as that of their ‘supposed’ masters, Sonia Gandhi for Singh and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa for Gowda.

It is the similarities between the two, rather than the differences, that are a source of intrigue. Sullia-born Gowda and Singh are heads of governments that have public discontent simmering against them, for the most obvious reason of corruption. Interestingly, their governments need to look within rather than outside for potent sources of trouble (the face-off between Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram, polarisation of K’taka BJP camps, need we say more). Also, the Opposition parties of the two governments have grossly failed to capitalise on the issue of corruption – L K Advani’s Rath Yatra is more like bolting the stables after the horses have fled, especially after Team Anna upstaged it on bringing the UPA government to book for its torrent of scams; Gali Janardhana Reddy and Yeddyurappa may have fallen from grace, but the public outreach programmes of Congress in Karnataka have failed to translate into electoral victories. 

Perhaps the most striking similarity between the two leaders is their proclivity to seek indirect public mandate to continue in power. Singh chooses to remain PM by getting elected to Rajya Sabha; it is only expected that Gowda will continue in the CM’s gaddi by getting elected to the Legislative Council. 

Two days later, this time in Shimoga, namma CM makes a similar, somewhat self-deprecating statement, but does not refer to any Central government leaders. “K S Eshwarappa (state BJP secretary) and Yeddyurappa were solely responsible for my ascendancy to the CM’s chair,” he said.

So, will our honoured PM reciprocate in kind and admit that he is a mere puppet in the hands of the 2Gs of the Congress? Watch this space for more details.

(Photos: Wikipedia)