The Scene I: Place: New Delhi
(A meeting of the BJP high command is in progress. The agenda - the Karnataka affairs - in the background of Yeddy’s Dharmasthala challenge)
Gadkari: Of late this Karnataka affair is taking most of my time. I am really fed up with this ‘Yedurappa’ Tamasha. What is this Dharmasthala challenge now?
Ananthakumar (AK): I agree Gadkari Sab is new to this Tamasha. But sir, to appreciate the problem, you should first learn to pronounce the names of Kannadigas properly! You are calling Yeddy (Yeddyurappa) as Yedurappa! I even saw you mispronouncing his name on the national television, sir!
(There is smile on the faces of all the members. Gadkari looks amused!)
Jaitley: I agree as an advocate it is always very important to mention the correct names of the persons. By the bye what does ‘Yedurappa’ mean in Kannada? Please tell us AK.
AK: It actually means the person representing the ‘opposite party’! I don’t know whether the President is trying to convey a message that Yeddy is as good as an opposition leader as far as the high command is concerned, by calling him with this name!
Gadkari: Perhaps you are partly right AK! Anyways let me stand corrected. In future I will call him simply as Yeddy. That saves complications for me! Let us come to the topic of discussion now.
AK: Sir, Your own (Marathi Manoos) Sachin Tendulkar had also visited Dharmasthala on his way to another famous temple at Subrahmanya!
Naidu: Dharmasthala is a famous pilgrimage centre in Karnataka. The Lord Manjunatha is known as a very powerful God. Persons who tell lies while taking oath in front of the God are sure to be cursed with some misfortune in their life. They will do so at their peril only. The curse may continue for generations!
Jaitley: Naturally it is the last place for a politician to go!
Gadkari: I agree with Jaitley. Let us admit it. You cannot run a political party by telling truth always! In fact that is why Mahatma Gandhi had advised the winding up of the Congress Party immediately after independence!
AK: Sir, the topic is getting diverted again! I do not know why Sushmaji is not interested in Karnataka affairs of late. She definitely is capable of offering some advice.
Sushma: My exposure was more to the affairs of the Bellary district. But now it is as good as a minefield! Don’t drag me there again! Anyways, my advice is let Yeddy avoid this Tamasha. Let him not play a political game with the Lord Manjunatha! It appears quite a risky proposition!
Gadkari: I think the unanimous decision now is to advise Yeddy to stop this Tamasha. Let me convey this to him. Of late he has become very arrogant and is acting quite tough even with us!
(The meeting concludes)
Scene II: Place: Dharmasthala
(There is a huge gathering of pilgrims near the temple of the Lord Manjunatha. The topic of discussion among them is naturally about the Yeddy v/s Kumaraswamy oath taking ceremony on the 26th of June. Some of the pilgrims are seeking the opinion of the temple staff in the matter)
Pilgrim A: I think Yeddy is taking a huge risk. He is mixing religion with politics.
Pilgrim B: What about Kumaraswamy? Is he not doing the same thing?
Pilgrim C: Oh! It seems you two belong to opposite camps! Let us not talk politics here. We should think of the sanctity of this great pilgrim centre and the Lord Manjunatha.
Pilgrim D: You are right. I have heard several stories in the past. In fact I have seen a family from our village suffer serious financial losses. The head of the family had lent money to a farmer and lied about the actual dues. He took a false oath in front of the Lord. That was it. His business went Kaput (bankrupt) hardly within a year thereafter! Now his family is on the roads!
Pilgrim A: That is exactly why I am against Yeddy’s challenge! Do you understand now? (Looks at Pilgrim B menacingly!)
Pilgrim B: That is exactly why I am against Kumaraswamy’s acceptance of challenge! Do you understand now? (Looks at Pilgrim A menacingly!)
Pilgrim C: It seems you two have already started the oath taking business on behalf of your leaders! Let us stop it at this stage. Let us join the queue for the Darshan of the Lord.
(The crowd disperses and joins the queue)
Scene III: Place: Yeddy’s Home Office – ‘Krishna’ in Bangalore
(Yeddy is engaged in a long conversation with a religious leader. His secretary is waiting for him to finish the call. But there is no sign of him finishing! All sorts of physical expressions of the secretary that there is some urgent matter to be discussed fail to attract the attention of the CM. His patience is running out. But he is aware of Yeddy’s short temper and the slapping incidents. He keeps his cool. At last Yeddy keeps the receiver down)
Secretary: Sir, there was an urgent call from New Delhi. The President of the Party Nitin Gadkari wanted to speak to you.
Yeddy: I don’t know what the issue is now. Hope he does not advise me to withdraw from the challenge at this stage. Already all the religious leaders are asking me to withdraw.
Secretary: Sir, may I put you on the line now?
Yeddy: Okay. Go ahead.
(The secretary connects the line)
Gadkari: Hello! How are you Yedurappaji? I am sorry I got your name wrong again! How are you Yeddy…..ji?
Yeddy: I am fine, sir. How are you, sir?
Gadkari: I am fine. I am referring to your Dharmasthala challenge. The high command has unanimously decided that you should desist from this oath taking business Yeddy…..ji.
Yeddy: But sir you know this Kumaraswamy who is after my blood. I want to teach him a perfect lesson to remember, sir.
Gadkari: But the party does not want you to mix politics with the religion. Please avoid this showdown. This is in the best interest of the party and you as well, Yeddy…..ji.
(The conversation comes to an abrupt end. Yeddy’s mood is off. He curses the high command. But concludes that it may not be advisable to go ahead considering the advice of the religious heads and the high command as well)
Scene IV: Place: Dharmasthala
(It is the early morning in the pilgrim town. The CM Yeddy has arrived at the town along with a group of ministers, MLAs and MLCs by a train from Bangalore. He is staying at Sri Sannidhi, a VVIP guest house. Kumaraswamy has arrived in the midnight and is staying at Shanthi Vana, another guest house. There is heavy security and no other pilgrims are allowed inside the temple till the VIP guests complete their Darshan and their agenda. The proceedings are kept a secret. By the evening the details are out)
Pilgrim A: You know what happened inside the temple today.
Pilgrim B: I have no clue. Please tell me.
Pilgrim A: It seems your Yeddy chickened out from the challenge! He merely offered prayers to the Lord and sought his blessings for the people of Karnataka.
Pilgrim B: What about Kumaraswamy?
Pilgrim A: He stated his case against Yeddy with the words – This is the truth….the truth…the truth.
Pilgrim B: Okay. But that does not prove that Yeddy did not speak the truth. Am I right?
Pilgrim C: It seems you two want to fight it out on behalf of your leaders again. Please stop it. Let us ask Pilgrim D, who appears to be an authority in the matter.
Pilgrim D: Let me tell you it is not appropriate to invite somebody for a challenge in front of the Lord and then simply withdraw. At least one has to offer some Tappu-Kanike (penalty) to the Lord. Yeddy has been successful so far in meeting various challenges to his post. But I suspect he may have to face the consequences for failing to take the oath. Have you seen the Yakshagana Prasanga called the Dharmasthala Mahatme?
Pilgrims A & B: Yes. We have seen the Prasanga even as kids. It is not for nothing that the Lord Manjunatha is known as a powerful God! Let us move in now to the temple and pray the Lord.
(The pilgrims move to the temple)
The Final Scene: Place: Mande Kolu village in Puttur
(Yeddy has tendered his resignation on 28th July in the face of indictment in the illegal mining report submitted by the Lokayukta Justice Santosh N Hegde. D V Sadananda Gowda hailing from Puttur has been chosen as his successor on 3rd August 2011. A Bhootha Kola event is being held at Mande Kolu, the village from which the new CM hails. During the offering of the Bali, the Bhootharaya appears on one of the persons. It is followed by a dialogue of the Poojari with the Bhootharaya)
Poojari: Oh! Bhootharaya! How come you have appeared all of a sudden!
Bhootharaya: I have kept my promise to the people of Puttur Taluk. I had earlier foretold that a person from this taluk will become the CM of Karnataka.
Poojari: Your prediction was 100 percent right! Our beloved DVS has become the CM of Karnataka.
Bhootharaya: My blessings are with DVS. Let me go back now.
((The person on whom the Bhootharaya had appeared collapses all of a sudden. The crowd raises slogans in the name of DVS)
A V Krishnamurthy
22nd August 2011