In Karnataka’s game of ‘karma’, a 5 star CM, an old man in haste

Karnataka, MLAs, Congress, JD(S), BJP, coalition, The Federal, English news website
For Indian hearts bleeding after the loss in the semi-final of the cricket World Cup, the Kar'nataka' was a godsend, a manna-esque morning after pill that cured the Old Trafford injury. Photo: PTI.

Thank god for kar nataka!

For Indian hearts bleeding after the loss in the semi-final of the cricket World Cup, it was a godsend, a manna-esque morning after pill that cured the Old Trafford injury.

Kar nataka started a lot like IPL though. Its hallmark being the trademark transfer of players from one side to another before every session, er, edition.

In the past few weeks, so much swapping and so many transfers had happened at the exchange counter that nobody knew who was playing for the Kumaraswamy Colts, who was batting for the Siddaramaiah Studs or who had fled the stable and joined the BJP Bhagoras (deserters). Like they say in cricket, every side was packed with horses for courses, courtesy the oldest trade in Indian democracy.


While it lasted, it was hugely entertaining. It had the CM’s (ineffective) spins, the Speaker’s (readable) googlies, the Governor’s bluster of counter-attack — that like MS Dhoni’s anticipated big, bold strikes in the end never really threatened to make an impact — and BS Yeddyurappa’s crafty field-setting that extended right up the Nariman Point in Mumbai and even had an extra cover in the form of a BSP legislator.

Like in the World Cup, we are still not sure if the best team won, or if this is just a tie before the super over. But, who cares! Unlike the World Cup, we don’t have to wait for the nataka for four years. The transfer window for players in this nataka is always open. So, here’s hoping for season next of KPL–Kar nataka Political League.

Till we see them again, here is a quick analysis of the performance of the major players of this edition of the event.

HD Kumaraswamy: The CM’s performance was, without a doubt, five star, even if just for his choice of accommodation. Credit should go to him also for keeping his masterstroke — his tears — in check, even though they seemed to be just one tragic delivery away.

Kumaraswamy batted audaciously. While his partners — spot fixers as they were — kept throwing their wickets away, Kumaraswamy found innovative ways of farming the strike — the Humble Farmer legacy, we presume — to extend his innings.

Key Stats: Innings: 13 months, Strike Rate: Zero, Highest Score: 99.

Key achievement: Two “love letters” from the Governor.

Siddaramaiah: What’s in a name? Plenty. A Siddu in kar nataka would always play like a Navjot Siddhu in cricket: Always eager to bat first, hit big and, when thwarted, eager to defy the Captain and form his own rebel league. Sometimes, the nomenclature is destiny.

Siddaramaiah batted astutely. So much so that we still don’t know which side he was representing — his own, the coalition’s or the BJP’s. Let’s just say he was a bit like Hansie Cronje of this edition — a great player who knew when to win, when to lose, depending on the odds.

Key Stats: Innings: 13 months, Strike Rate: 15 rebels and still counting. Top wicket: Kumaraswamy.

Key Achievement: No love letter still from the party high command.

KR Ramesh Kumar: When he came out to bat, the Speaker announced the trust vote would be like a T-20, then he turned it into a 50-over game and finally stretched it into a Test match. For this stalling and delaying the inevitable, he deserves a call-up for India’s cricket team. Any batsman who can bat that long and still score a zero, after all, must have a great defence and phenomenal patience, something India has lacked since the days of Sunil Gavaskar.

Now that the BJP is likely to form the next government, the Speaker should be really worried about his own future. He needn’t worry. There are many career options available for him.

He could, if removed by the next government from the post, revert to acting. During the no-trust vote he gave ample evidence of his formidable skills. One minute he’d be riding the “horns of dilemma” with the pained look of a patriarch whose family would just not listen to him. Another minute, he would be the quintessential angry old man, wagging fingers, reprimanding rabble-rousers and warning them of the consequences of skulking.

And like Sunny Deol ranted in the 90s film Damini, in true filmy style Kumar also perfected the art of giving “tarikh pe tarikh” (date after date), finding one imaginative ruse after another.

Key Stats: Innings: Still not out but likely to retire hurt. Strike Rate: Zero, couldn’t decide on a single resignation.

Key Achievement: Coming dangerously close to getting a “love letter” from the Supreme Court.

BS Yeddyurappa: The old man of the match, by a long distance. A living embodiment of the adage that Indian democracy is rarely about meritocracy and almost always about opportunity, which, for some magical reason, keeps striking at Yeddyurappa’s door. A stellar example of the theory that nothing makes the mind focus on the CM’s chair than the fear of Marg Darshak Mandal.

Yeddyurappa has proven to us that age is just a number, so is democracy. And that “good karma” is what he does, even if it is the destruction of the very foundations of democracy. But, karma, as they say, is a *****.

Key Stats: Innings: About to begin. Target Score: 4 years. Key weakness: His own age and past karma.

Achievement: Two love letters from the Governor in 13 months.