By Sushil Kutty
As usual, if nothing else, drag the cow in. This time the cow’s hubby – Pashupati. Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes to Nepal on the eve of the Karnataka Assembly election’s voting day and visits the Pashupati Nath Temple in Sita’s Janakpur and the Opposition promptly cries foul; says PM Modi is flouting the Model Code of Conduct. “Why isn’t he talking about China?” asks CPI leader Atul Anjam. “The country is awash with cheap Chinese goods. Modi’s foreign policy is a failure.” Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah chips in with “God Idhar Bhi Hai. God Hamara Saath Hai. Congress Party will come back to power.”
But temples and mutts hardened stance weeks ago and no visits to temples in foreign climes will change voter preference so late in the day. Saturday (May 12, 2018), cash was burning pockets in pocket boroughs and other boroughs in Karnataka, and voting percentage had crossed into the 70s, forcing journalists and political pundits to ask the question: ‘Which party, the Congress or the BJP, gains from high voter turnout?”
Making trips to futility is a regular every election day. Voters are for the most part an unreadable lot. Just when you think you have the sheep count in order, the bleating starts and you get the drift that it just ain’t in the order you arrived at. The numbers are slipping and climbing in ways you had not reckoned with. The best answer given to the question on “high voter turnout and which party gains, the incumbent or the challenger?” was by a political pundit whose name doesn’t count: “Lay out the numbers (percentages) on the screen and wait for May 15, counting day.”
Yep. The big day is May 15. Why crunch numbers on May 12 if you’re likely to vomit them out on counting day May 15 and cringe at the mess you made? The better part of reportage is for the number to sing on May 15. Guaranteed it wouldn’t be a duet! Sticking the neck out, one party will lose and the other will triumph and the third will not be the bridge it hopes to be, more like abridged! Some predictions are unstoppable.
That is because the ground’s been slipping so fast under the feet that politics makes no sense. 11 am on May 15, we’ll know who was talking through the hat, who was making up and who was making do – Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi. The two have spat out the bile in them and must now be toxin-free, proving Sonia Gandhi right that ‘politics is pure poison’, better left to Manmohan Singh, with the only antidote Tripura CM Biplab Deb, the biggest standup comedian India has produced in quite a while. Steeped in Vedic knowledge, one wondered what the heck the Tripura CM was doing in the gym all these years. Now we know, training the muscles in his brain. Deb has such a thick skull that he doesn’t get it that most times he opens his mouth, he muscles in with a gaffe. Some people are unstoppable.
There’s this Tamil movie ‘Jigerthanda’ in which an aspiring director (the hero) catches hold of a real-life psycho-killer named ‘Assault Sethu’ to make a film on him. But the heroine, who is also the psycho’s moll, is pissed off with the hero who she clandestinely loves. So she tells ‘Assault Sethu’, ‘Hey, the movie is on you, you should be playing lead!’ The ‘mental’ don, who incinerates journalists if he gets hold of one and who cannot act for nuts, intimidates the director-hero to do just that and the hero-director gets his revenge by making a comedy instead of the crime thriller the psycho expected! All of Tamil Nadu except ‘Assault Sethu’ is in splits!
In some ways ‘Assault Sethu’ and Jigerthanda remind of Biplab Deb, that brain matters, brawn doesn’t. Biplab’s take on Rabindranath Tagore and the Nobel Prize is such a laugh that you can ‘ha-ha’ till the cows come home. The Tripura CM lives in a landlocked island and it seems there’s conspiracy afoot to keep him ignorant of his gaffes. There was talk that Deb would campaign in Karnataka but someone sober in the BJP succeeded in keeping Deb away. Karnataka has been a funfest but somebody’s got to draw the line. Placed in Tripura, Biplab Deb rattles the Chinese more and that should explain why Atul Anjam’s making dire comments on Modi’s ‘anjaam’. Some consequences are unstoppable.
Biplab Deb is a walking-talking controversy and controversies abut left, right and centre on any election day. May 12 was no different. So much so, a controversial television news channel put up an on-screen ‘Controversy Desk’ just to catch them falling – controversies! The ‘Great Indian Democracy’ at work is the best entertainment available – fabulous, hilarious, murderous. It is the Big Boss of Reality TV. Just keep switching channels and pop the corn! That is the trick. But don’t drag in the cow, Kyunki ‘Gai Hamaari Mata Hai” and Pashupati is the estranged hubby in Nepal. Don’t worry. Come rain or shine, hell or high-water, Karnataka will get a new government May 15. Some things are unstoppable. (IPA Service)