An odd little political game is being played out in Karnataka these days. At the center of it all is the grand old farmer of Indian polity Mr Deve 'Son-of-the-soil' Gowda.
To lend you perspective, lets flash back to around two years from now. Back then the JD(S)-Cong coalition was trudging along in bursts, with Mr Gowda acting as both benevolent (seemingly) Godfather and irritating Spoke-in-the-wheel. Brand Bangalore sat in a corner licking its wounds, wondering what hit it, and with it sat Gowda Jr, Kumaraswamy with a dour expression on his face. People knew by then, that Mr K chiefly had ministerial ambitions, but no, Mr K actually had Chief Ministerial ambitions. But he knew that, with the old guard at the helm that dream would be hard to dream and possibly impossible to achieve, if things were to go the way they had till then. So what did he do? He rode on the development plank(as most 45 year young politicians tend to). We need some good solid development, he said ,and what better a start than me being CM, he whispered to himself. He convinced a majority of JD(S) MLAs that the 'S' in JD(S) doesn't stand for secular but for 'Satta'. He shepherded them into a luxury bus, got into talks with the oh-so-not-Secular BJP. And thus, did JD(S) stab the Cong in the back and form the current govt. Mr Gowda, at the outset was furious at this sudden volte-face in ideology, but then let time (and power) heals all wounds and thus he welcomed back his prodigal son into the fold. Mr Gowda after all loves being the king maker doesn't he?
As part of the 'arrangement' with the saffron brigade, Kumaraswamy was to rule for twenty months and after that one Mr Yediyurappa from the BJP was to rule for the second period of twenty months. Mr Kumaraswamy was totally okay with the pact with the BJP, saffron hues not withstanding. He said, anything for the betterment of the state.
It was a good start, Mr K seemed to bring youth and exuberance into governance and slowly won the people over. But twenty months don't last forever do they?
As the twenty month stint came to an end, Mr Gowda started making all kinds of noises, of why JD(S) shouldn't have joined hands with the saffron brigade, of how the BJP was trying to tarnish him and his family. Lots of confusion,conflicting statements ,and the Sriramulu (lets not go there) episode didn't help matters either.
And today we stand at a threshold. Today is the day when Mr K will choose whether to keep his promise or to break it. Today is the day he has to chose between being honest or being in power. Today is the Mahatma's birthday. No doubt Mr Kumaraswamy will make lots of speeches praising what the Mahatma stood for, truth and honesty, and how he values these virtues and how these should be the beacon that will show our nation the pathway to the future. But the burning question is whether MR K will choose to follow the path shown by the birthday boy or be a hypocrite.
After all what's at stake Mr K is not power, its not your popularity. It is something that is much much more valuable ( at least they should be to you). Its credibility. Please don't let us down Mr K.