Scene IV: Place: Residence of KS
(Enter Deve Gowda (DG), the former CM and the father of KS. KS gets up and touches his father’s feet. The two settle down in their seats. The crowd outside the home keeps shouting slogans in honour of the former PM)
KS: Mother was here just a few minutes back, dad. I don’t understand why you two are so upset about my decision to accept the challenge of Yeddy.
DG: I am not here to play on your sentiments like your mother, son! I am only worried whether you are politically correct in taking on Yeddy in this manner.
KS: You are a seasoned politician, dad. You know the necessity of being in limelight! One has to be in the news always if he aims at the highest seat in the government. Is it not, dad?
DG: There are no two opinions on that count, son. You are trying to be smart and one step ahead of your daddy! Am I right, son?
KS: Thank you, dad. I know the PM’s Chair came in search of you on account of the circumstances prevailing at that time! There was little effort from your side. But I cannot expect it to happen in my case as well! Am I right, dad?
DG: Sure. I know that. I also know but for the revolt raised by you against me, I would not have permitted you to join hands with BJP. I agree you saw the opportunity and gripped it with both hands at the right time!
KS: You are right, dad. You know I am not satisfied with a mere cabinet minister post like my brother Revanna. I always set my sails high, dad!
DG: I appreciate your high ambition, son. But what I am worried about is the act of your taking oath in front of the Lord Manjunatha. You know our entire family is God-fearing. In fact I spend a major part of my time in conducting Homas and other religious events!
KS: I know the Lord Manjunatha is a very powerful God. But I am quite sure that I am speaking only truth in front of him. You can be rest assured, dad. Kindly go home and take rest. I promise to call on you immediately on return from Dharmasthala along with the Prasadam, dad.
(KS touches the feet of his father again. DG starts leaving the place. The slogan shouting by the crowd reaches the top as the car of DG moves out)
Scene V: Place: The Netherworld (Yama Loka)
(It is an assembly of all the ex-Chief Ministers (CMs) of Karnataka who are dead and are presently at the abode of the Lord Yama Dharma Raja. The meeting is held under the Chairmanship of Jayachamaraja Vodeyar, the former king of Mysore and the first Governor of Karnataka. The CMs present include K C Reddy, Kengal Hanumanthaiah, Kadidal Manjappa, S Nijalingappa, B D Jatti, S R Kanti, Veerendra Patil, D Devaraj Urs, R Gundu Rao, Ramakrishna Hegde, S R Bommai and J H Patel).
JC: All of you are aware under what circumstances this meeting has been called. The political situation in Karnataka has reached its nadir. We do know we are just unable to do anything that could bring back the same out of the morass to which it has shrunk of late. But we can definitely have a discussion among us and pray for the welfare of the State.
K C Reddy: I was the first CM of Karnataka (Mysore). Those were the heady times with the country having just attained independence. All of us were interested in the development of the State despite our personal differences. The State was then known for the Gold Mines of Kolar. I understand the State is now known more for the notorious Mining Scam in the district of Bellary!
Kengal: I built the Vidhana Soudha, which keeps my memory in the heart of Kannadigas till today. I ensured that every paisa spent on the project was accounted for. I understand presently all government projects are awarded only after the contractor agrees to plough back a part of the contract amount to the coffers of the minister concerned with major portion going to the CM’s family!
Kadidal: I was the CM only for a short period. I was often called the Malnad Gandhi. The word corruption was unheard of in our times!
SN: I was the CM for three different periods. Even though the Sharavathi Karma Kanda (the Linganamakki hydro project) is alleged to have taken place in my times, there was no personal allegation against me. I carried the respect of Kannadigas even after my retirement.
Jatti: Mine was a corruption-free regime. So much so that some people used to say no developmental activities took place during my times!
Kanti: My Chief Ministership was only a stopgap arrangement. I was expected to hold the post till SN got elected to the Assembly (He had been defeated in the Hosadurga constituency) through a bye-election. In fact I was called as Bharatha (SN being the Shri Rama)!
SN: Kanti is right. He handed over the post to me after I won the bye-election from Bagalkot. He played the role of Bharatha to perfection! There was more. Veerendra (Patil) and Ramakrishna (Hegde) were called Lava and Kusha by the Kannadigas! They were like my sons who rose to become CMs later.
JC: (Intervening) I like the way the discussions are being diverted to interesting topics! Please carry on. I know some of you were very flamboyant! I am referring to Gundu Rao, Hegde and Patel!
Veerendra: Sir, you are right. The three were quite flamboyant indeed! As for me, I was known as an able administrator on both the occasions that I occupied the chair. I tolerated no nonsense.
Urs: I played the role of a social reformer. I was known as the strong man of Karnataka. In fact it was during my time that the State was renamed as Karnataka.
RG: I was the youngest CM of Karnataka. As for flamboyancy, I remember I had inaugurated a swimming pool in Bangalore by jumping into the pool!
Hegde: That was nothing Gundu! You had done much more! I will disclose them on some future occasion. This may not be the right time.
RG: If both of us start speaking, the definition of flamboyancy itself may change! Let us avoid it now. But let me tell you. We two were nothing compared to (JH) Patel! Let us hear him!
Hegde: I agree there were allegations against me and my family (son-in-law). But they were like peanuts compared to the mining and other scams of the present day!
Patel: Gundu Rao is right! I agree I was the most flamboyant! The truth was that I never tried to hide it! I should admit that I got good company of Anant Nag whom I even made a Minister! Oh! Those were exciting times for me! I did enjoy the Chief Ministership! But let me tell you there was absolutely no corruption charge against me! My family members were totally kept out by me.
JC: That was great Patel! But let us conclude the meeting now. We will meet again to keep a track of the happenings in our beloved Karnataka.
(The meeting concludes with the singing of Nadageethe – Jai Bharatha Jananiya Tanu jathe……)
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
18th August 2011