Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy is a square block of a man. And HDK is head honcho of Karnataka because of ‘combination’ rather than ‘permutation’. By definition, ‘order’ matters in permutation. But ‘order’ doesn’t matter for combination. Rahul Gandhi’s party has double the seats of HDK’s Janata Dal (S) but HDK heads the government. Permutation says the Congress should be heading the combination. The square bloke that he’s been reduced to, HDK acknowledged this Sunday, admitting that he is at the “mercy of the Congress” and not the 6.5 crore people of Karnataka because of the permutation.
An AIADMK politician has called journalists ‘dogs’, saying that they should be ‘tied to the gates’ and not allowed in. In a way the AIADMK leader is right, journalists like dogs do sniff out things: Controversies. Journalists are also ‘watchdogs’. So, journalists see in HDK’s statement clear acknowledgement that things are lopsided in the JD(S)-Congress combination because of the permutation. The ‘mutant’ political order brought about by the fractured mandate is an ugly combination, prompting the question: Will the dog wag the tail or will the tail wag the dog? HDK answered the question Sunday: Behind the combination stood the all-powerful permutation and there was no way escaping the implications.
So, frequent visits to Delhi would be part of HDK’s itinerary. That is because the dog wags the tail! On Monday HDK met Rahul and Sonia Gandhi. They stood lined up for a photograph, too. This after HDK said that he’s indebted to the Congress and father HD Devegowda voiced apprehensions about the Congress’s intentions. There appears to be a behind the curtain power tussle over portfolios. The Congress, it’s been heard told, wants the heavyweight portfolios and HDK is at a disadvantage because of the permutation and the combination. “I’ve to take the permission of the Congress,” HDK confessed his helplessness Monday in Delhi. Like said HDK is a square bloke besides being a square block!
Another reality is that HDK, despite not getting the people’s mandate and not owing anything to the 6.5 crore people of Karnataka, has to deliver promises made post-election. Top of which is a waiver of farmer loans. So meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers are in order. HDK has promised a farm loan waiver, saying he gets that done, failing which he resigns! “The people of the state rejected me and our party. I had sought an absolute majority. I have heard the statements of farmers’ leaders too and how much they supported me,” HDK said on Sunday. “But mine is not an independent government.”
HDK’s appeal is to the people of Karnataka, farmers especially. That despite “certain compulsions as a politician”, he has “absolute clarity on the issue of farm loan waiver”. He says he’s “one step ahead of you (BJP) to work for the farmers… Farm loan waiver is my priority. Can’t you (farmers) wait for a week (before you commit suicide)? Even the cabinet is not yet formed.” This is probably the first time any Chief Minister has asked farmers to wait for week to commit suicide! Will it amount to abetment of suicide if HDK fails to deliver and some farmers do commit suicide?
In Shakespearean lore, HDK is shaping up as an Othello. Othello’s marriage to Desdemona was ruined by conniving and jealous soldier Iago. And HDK is in congress (marriage) with the Congress, showing early signs of the ‘Othello Syndrome’ – denial and delusion! He is forced to trust the Congress but cannot believe in the Congress because the combination is against the permutation. All it needs is a Iago to send Othello HDK into suicidal-murderous action.
The standard international joke is that the combination lock should actually be called the permutation lock. The Karnataka Chief Minister’s tragedy is that his lot is linked to another lot which is larger than his lot and a lot depends on what that lot decides to do to every action of his lot. The portfolios that matter – home, agriculture, finance – are what the Congress wants and HDK, because he doesn’t command the permutation, is out on a limb like Othello the Moor, a victim of his own delusions. The dog always wags the tail! That is a dog fact.