The Chief Minister of Karnataka Yeddyurappa (Yeddy) has challenged Kumaraswamy (KS), the former CM, to take oath in front of the Lord Manjunatha in Dharmasthala that he (Yeddy) had tried to buy his silence for the graft charges against him. He has fixed June 27 as the date for taking the oath and has stated that he would take the oath that he had not made any such attempt. Kumaraswamy has accepted the challenge and has responded by stating that he would be in Dharmasthala by the evening of 26th June itself. The stage is set for a dramatic showdown at the famous pilgrim centre in the district of Dakshina Kannada.
The Scene I: Place: A Village near Puttur
A function called Bhootha Kola is being held to appease the Daivas. The yejaman of the family is offering the ‘Bali’ to the Gods, when one of the invitees suddenly starts behaving in an excited manner. The assembled crowd soon comes to know that the Bhootharaya is talking through him. The Poojari who is helping the Yejaman to offer the Bali takes upon himself the role of an interpreter. He starts the dialogue with the Bhootharaya.
Poojari: Oh! Bhootharaya! How come you have appeared all of a sudden? Are you not satisfied with the Bali being offered to you by the Yejaman?
Bhoothraya: I don’t have any complaints on that score. I am quite pleased with the Bali being offered to me.
Poojari: What then is the reason for you to appear before us? Please reveal it to us. Oh! The revered Bhootharaya!
Bhoothraya: I am here to announce some good news for the people of this Puttur taluk! Let me tell you….. (Stops talking all of a sudden!)
(The assembled crowd gets excited. The people start making guesses on what the good news could be. The crowd waits anxiously for the good news)
Poojari: We cannot wait to hear the good news anymore, Bhootharaya! Please enlighten us without any further delay.
Bhoothraya: I am here to inform all of you that a son of this soil is set to become the Chief Minister of Karnataka shortly!
Poojari: But Yeddyurappa is firmly in the seat. How is it possible?
Bhoothraya: You will come to know shortly. It is not for me to elaborate. I wish the people of Puttur all the best. I am leaving now……I will get back exactly after two months when the new CM takes charge!
(The person on whom the Bhootharaya had appeared collapses all of a sudden. The crowd is totally excited. All sorts of guesses are being made about the person who would be the new CM of the State)
Scene II: Place: Yeddy’s Home Office – ‘Krishna’ in Bangalore
(The Chief Minister’s (Yeddy’s) office at Krishna in Bangalore is as busy as a beehive. All telephone lines are engaged. People keep calling and visiting. Even the family members find it difficult to meet the CM)
CM: I am totally tired now. Hope there will be no more visitors today. (Asks the secretary not to allow any more visitors inside).
Secretary: Yes sir. But your daughters are expected here any time. They have been ringing up right from the morning to seek your appointment. I think they are here now.
CM: Okay. You let them in. I cannot refuse to meet my dear daughters.
(The three daughters – Arunadevi, Padmavati and Umadevi - rush in).
CM: What makes my darling daughters to troop in like this? What is the reason for your excitement? Tell me. Oh! My sweet ones!
Uma: We are here to offer you our moral support, dad! We heard that you are visiting Dharmasthala to take oath in front of the Lord Manjunatha. We are sure you have always told truth and truth only, dad.
CM: Thank you dear ones. I knew my dear daughters will always stand by me. (I don’t know what happened to Raghavendra and Vijayendra! Where are they?)
Aruna: Uma is right, dad. We are here to support you. We are sure you will teach a right lesson to Kumaraswamy who had refused to handover the CM’s post to you as agreed, dad.
Padma: Having lost our dear mother, we feel you are both the mother and father to us, dad. Remember, we are always with you through thick and thin, dad!
Secretary (intervenes): Both Raghavendra and Vijayendra are here. May I let them in, sir?
CM: I knew they will be here. But they always lag behind their sisters in supporting their father! Of course, they are the first to take all sorts of favours from me! In fact most of my trouble comes from them!
Secretary: Sir, I am confused. What shall I do?
CM: Okay. You let them in. Let them also know their sisters are in the frontline to support me!
(Enter Raghavendra and Vijayendra)
Raghavendra: We have been waiting to meet you right from the morning, dad. But you were too busy. We are with you in your mission at Dharmasthala! Let us teach that ungrateful Kumaraswamy a fitting lesson, dad. (Looks at the sisters. “Oh! You three are already here! You manage to overtake us on all such occasions, as usual!”)
Vijayendra: Raghavendra is right. We are here to express our solidarity with you, dad!
CM: That is what I expect from you, sons. (I know you two have taken full advantage of my position. But then it is quite normal for the sons of all politicians in India! I cannot expect my sons to be different!)
(The family meeting ends in a cordial atmosphere)
Scene III: Place: The Residence of Kumaraswamy (KS)
(A large crowd has gathered near the residence. The telephone lines keep ringing. Inside the house KS is just having his morning coffee. The wife Anitha Kumaraswamy, the MD of Kasthuri Channel, is with him. The couple is engaged in a personal dialogue)
Anitha: I don’t know whether it was right on your part to accept the challenge from Yeddy. After all, the Dharmasthala Manjunatha is known as a very powerful God!
KS: You don’t worry. I am 100 percent sure on the allegation made by me about Yeddy that he had tried to buy my silence. I am sure even God Manjunatha will vindicate my stand!
Anitha: I do appreciate your courage. But have you taken the consent of your beloved father and mother? You are very well aware at this age they may not like any complications for their son.
KS: I can read out their minds. They have always supported me. Do you remember how dad came around when I first formed the Ministry with Yeddy as my deputy?
Anitha: Of course I remember. That was indeed a courageous revolt by you against your dad that ended amicably!
KS: Daddy always carries a soft corner for his sons! I knew that! You may announce in your Kasthuri Channel that I carry the support of my dad and mother!
Anitha: Okay I will go ahead. I have to leave now. I know it will be a very busy day for me as you can understand! (Leaves the residence in a hurry for her office).
(Enters Channamma, the mother of KS. KS gets up and touches his mother’s feet)
KS: Oh! My beloved mother! What makes you visit me in this early morning?
Mother: Don’t be naughty, my dear son! You sure know why I have rushed here!
KS: Why do you take such troubles mother? I would have called on you if only you had told me over phone.
Mother: Why are you after this Yeddy? You know he has always been a slippery customer. All your attempts to dislodge him from the CM’s chair have so far failed miserably! I don’t want you now to challenge him in front of the Lord Manjunatha.
KS: Don’t you worry, my dear mother! I can face that Yeddy anywhere in this world!
Mother: Okay. My best wishes are with you. Please take care of your health. You know you had a heart operation last year. I don’t want you to trouble my son-in-law (Dr. Manjunath, the Head of Jayadeva Hospital) again!
(Channamma leaves. Immediately afterwards the crowd near the residence starts shouting slogans. The news comes that Deve Gowda, the former PM and father of KS, is arriving shortly)
------- (To be continued)
A V Krishnamurthy
15th August 2011