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The English Alphabet, in the Prism of Bellary

Bellary, synonymous with illegal mining, rampant corruption and ex-minister Gali Janardhana Reddy, is in the limelight, for the right reasons, for a change: it is all set to get its representative to the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of power of the Karnataka Assembly, after it went to the hustings recently. If C and HTML programming and even mundane tasks like cooking can have a dummy’s guide or a dictionary, then the chequered past of the iron-rich district of Karnataka, too, can have one.
So, here goes:

A – stands for AP Mines and Mineral Development Corporation (APMMDC), whose director V D Rajagopal (not to be confused with this author!) was arrested in connection with illegal sanction of mining leases to the behemoth that is Obulapuram Mining Company, owned by jailed former minister G Janardhana Reddy; also stands for Anantpur district in AP where OMC was also said to have obtained the permits for mining; also stands for ‘able independent’ which JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy took great pains to explain that it was not former health minister B Sriramulu (but turns out, actually is); also stands for A A Biswas, the deputy commissioner and district election officer

B – Bellary district. No other district, in recent times, has impinged itself upon the state’s political landscape or has dictated the fortunes (literally) of the government. The spectre of the district looms large in every significant political development, be it the ousters of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and mining baron G J Reddy, not to mention that of the latter’s confidant, B Sriramulu; also stands for Brahmini Steels, owned by Reddy, whose unfettered growth could have resulted in the making of India’s own Arcelor-Mittal! (But we digress)

C – Chanchalaguda prison in Hyderabad, where GJR, one-time emperor-cum-mining baron-cum-kingmaker, is now cooling his heels. Reddy, whose household articles were entirely made out of gold, now has to contend with the jail’s aluminium plates; also stands for Congress, a party that has perhaps, ever since the BJP stormed to power in Karnataka, forgotten to win elections

D – stands for Deve Gowda H D, the maverick leader at the helm of the JD(S), which has partnered political parties of all hues – right, left or centre – and whose ideology is as ambidextrous as ambidextrous can get; also stands for denotification scandal, whose tribe, it seems, has a never-ending list of political leaders, ranging from Yeddyurappa, former minister Katta Subrahmanya Naidu, Home Minister R Ashok, and now Congress leader D K Shivakumar

E –  Election Commission, once an emasculated institution that was taken seriously after people like T N Seshan and K P S Gill occupied its directorial posts. After all, no election goes without reports of seizure of money/liquor/articles, intended for distribution to voters

F – stands for Fan, the electoral symbol of Sriramulu, whose exit from Karnataka BJP was as dramatic as his rise within it. His name occupies prominence in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining (see L); also stands for Fakirappa Sanna, Raichur BJP MP and Sriramulu’s relative, who demonstrated that blood is thicker than water by vociferously campaigning for his brother and in the process earning the party’s boot

G – the alphabet Bellary watchers need to watch out for most, as it stands for Gali Janardhana Reddy. Apt that Gali literally means wind, as the winds of change occurred in the power centre when GJR partnered the BJP. Such was the clout he wielded over the ruling establishment that whenever he sneezed, the BJP caught a cold. His fleet of Rolls Royces, Mercedes, not to mention choppers, were the stuff fashion and lifestyle magazines would love to gloss over. His rise, along with that of his brothers, Somashekara and Karunakara, can be attributed to the insatiable demand for iron ore across the world, more so in China during the Beijing Olympics, when they made a killing, with the then Yeddyurappa-led government looking askance to his fiefdom; also stands for Gadhilingappa P, the BJP candidate for the Bellary byelections, not to mention Gokul R, the deputy conservator of forests of Belekeri, who was transferred after he detected irregularities in the export of iron ore, and eventually reinstated

H – Hegde Santosh, there can be no middle path to how politicos react to this man whose report paved the way for the downfall of a government and a CM – every politician either reveres or loathes him. Just ask former CMs H D Kumaraswamy or B S Yeddyurappa (also read K, L)

I – Stands for illegal mining (what else?). No other factor could have led to the conduct of the byelection; no other factor could have resulted in ignominy to our beloved netas, in addition to generating heat and light, with the former in copious qualities

J – for Jeevan Kumar V Gaonkar, the Lokayukta ADGP who was infamously transferred from Karnataka following his purported conversation with Deve Gowda. The former PM later reacted that “if a mere telephone call can cause transfers, then so be it”; also stands for JD(S), the political party whose influence, at present, seems to be limited to pockets in Hassan and Ramanagaram districts (see D for more details); also stands for Jindal Steels which has been accused of offering vast donations to a trust floated by Yeddyurappa’s sons in exchange for favours in grant of mining leases

K – Kumaraswamy H D, whose decibel levels dipped when his involvement in illegal mining was made public in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining. The BJP owes a lot to this person, for had it not been for his refusal to transfer power to Yeddyurappa in the BJP-JD(S) coalition government, snap polls, in which the BJP won the maximum number of seats, may never have been held, and Shikaripur’s beloved legislator may have never become the CM. Among his numerous gaffes, his inviting a rebuke from Santosh Hegde on his matrimonial lives stands out the most

L – Lokayukta. The relatively placid proceedings at the Vidhana Soudha was sent into a tailspin following the submission of the report on illegal mining by the office of the ombudsman. Whether the former CM, Yeddyurappa, who was jailed and is now out on bail, and his Cabinet colleagues, who found themselves in hot water when the report’s revelations were made public, will be indicted is something only time can tell. Nevertheless, the fact that this report continues to be talked about speaks volumes about the ground-breaking achievements that it effected (despite allegations flying thick and fast that the report targeted only the leaders of the BJP)

M – mining, doing which the legal way amounts to a paradox in Karnataka (and possibly the nation?)

O – stands for OMC, the mining company owned by GJR that made money in vast quantities – a fact that qualifies for the understatement of the century! Could by extension lead to the expression, “Oh, my crore!”

P – Parmeshwar G, the president of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. The more he speaks of asserting his authority in the state, the more he looks out of place, giving clear indications that he is a mere puppet in the hands of his seniors in the state Congress and party high-command Sonia Gandhi; also stands for padayatra, the botched event that was the Congress’ Bangalore-Bellary padayatra, when party leaders invoked Mahatma Gandhi’s name, but failed miserably at emulating the person who wanted the grand old party of India dissolved soon after independence, not to mention their failure at capturing the voters’ hearts; most importantly, also stands for phone-tapping, an ignominious episode in the state’s history when, days prior to the submission of the much-awaited Lokayukta report to the government, phones of the ombudsman’s office were tapped. Expectantly, most in the know-how denied its very occurrence

R – stands for Reddy Republic, or areas in Bellary district which were once under the direct control of the Reddys, as mentioned in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining; also stands for Rajashekara Reddy Y S, the former CM of Andhra Pradesh, revered as the people’s messiah in many pockets of the state. Yet, his close links with GJR are undeniable, of which the speed at which mining permits for OMC were approved speaks volumes

S – stands for Sandur, where a local court literally lost count of the summons that it had issued to GJR when he was in power, possibly drunk in it; also stands for Sushma Swaraj, the ‘benevolent mother’ of the Bellary Reddys, who contested the ’04 byelections against Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi and lost. That she denied her relationship with her ‘children’ when GJR slid into jail proved to be an anti-climatic end to their relationship; also stands for Shobha Karandlaje, the girlfriend of former CM B S Yeddyurappa, as revealed by Wikileaks. Her presence was a thorn in the relationship between the Reddys and Yeddyurappa, who had to sacrifice her post, in order to save the government. The wheel has come a full circle for her, with her back in the government as, paradoxically, the energy minister, and the Reddys facing ignominy

T – stands for Tapal Ganesh, a miner and a sworn adversary of the Bellary Reddys. Switched allegiance with the BJP, against whom he had made many an acerbic comment in the past, rather dramatically prior to the byelections

U – stands for U V Singh, former conservator of forests and Lokayukta official, who was also Santosh Hegde’s Man Friday, and was among those who played a key role in unearthing the mucky dealings in India’s own Watergate, err... minegate

Y – stands for Yeddyurappa B S, former chief minister (also the current de-facto CM), whose proclivity to reach for the handkerchief were the stuff even die-hard fans of daily soaps would laugh at. Litigations do not mean anything to this self-proclaimed champion of the Lingayats who is largely credited with the rise of the BJP in Karnataka; hence, was able to cock a snook at the senior party leadership for his excesses; also stands for Y Srilakshmi, senior IAS officer, and the latest to fall prey to the vastly-grown tentacles of the Bellary Reddys. Was jailed for facilitating deals for OMC during the YSR regime in AP despite making a tearful plea in court

PS: The above list is at best only indicative...

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