Some leaders are quite literally CRYING, and getting attention too

There is no dearth of issues crying for attention, ranging from bad city roads to corruption in high places. But, some leaders are quite literally crying, and getting attention too.

Recently, the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy broke down while speaking at Ramanagaram, trying to explain to voters why he was compelled to contest from the Chickballapur Lok Sabha seat, abandoning the Assembly constituency of Ramanagaram from where he was elected MLA.

Mr. Kumaraswamy, also a film producer, is known for shedding tears during election rallies. Congress MP and actor Ramya also shed tears while filing nomination papers in Mandya, remembering her late father who died days before the by-election which she contested and won last year. Sri Rama Sene leader Pramod Mutalik, the man accused in the Mangalore pub attack case, too became emotional after he was shunted out of the BJP hours after being welcomed in.

Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha leader and MLA K.S. Puttannaiah further spiced up the drama saying that shedding tears in front of voters amounts to violation of the code of conduct.

In another sub-plot, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah created a small controversy by reacting to Mr. Kumaraswamy’s crying, citing an old adage that “You cannot trust men who cry and women that laugh”. However, Mr. Kumaraswamy retorted, “Does it mean that women are not entitled to a laugh or that men do not have emotions.”

Meanwhile, a private television channel took the whole business very seriously and held a day-long debate with a series of questions: When politicians cry, do they show their “true emotions”? Do they have glycerine tucked away in their secret pockets? Can tears translate to votes? The road to power is filled with tears, it would appear.

- Bageshree

A ‘list with a difference’

Leaders of political parties cracked their heads till the last minute to release the list of their candidates for the Lok Sabha constituencies in the State. But the Jana Sangram Parishat, a movement against corruption and for protection of natural resources, released its own “list” comprising 11 candidates without any fuss or fanfare.

Unlike the traditional parties, the parishat leaders made a fervent appeal to voters to reject the candidates named in its “list”, which included these prominent and “powerful” politicians — H.D. Kumaraswamy, M. Veerappa Moily, D.V. Sadananda Gowda, N. Dharam Singh and B.S. Yeddyurappa.

The parishat and the Samaj Parivarthan Samudaya have consistently pursued cases of corruption against 11 candidates, now in the fray, in the past five years. The parishat and the samudaya have decided to carry out their campaign (against such candidates) through street plays, jathas and pamphlets.

- Muralidhara Khajane

A case of ‘hot potatoes’

First, it was the BJP and next came the Congress. Both parties had egg on their faces when they embraced two prominent leaders of the right wing outfit Sri Rama Sene and dumped them like hot potatoes within hours. The two leaders are the controversial Pramod Muthalik and one of his ardent followers, Dinakar Shetty, both of whom were accused in the 2009 Mangalore pub attack case. Muthalik was given a rousing welcome during admission into the saffron party by none other than State BJP chief Prahlad Joshi, who is contesting from Dharwad constituency, flanked by the former State BJP presidents Jagadish Shettar and K.S. Eshwarappa. However, the admission of the new entrant was cancelled by evening after the Central party leaders said “no”, and Muthalik cried foul.

A defiant Muthalik played the RSS card and said that he joined the saffron party at the behest of the RSS. Now, to settle political scores, the Sene leader is contesting elections against Joshi and another BJP MP Ananth Kumar. BJP senior leader Arun Jaitely described the whole drama as a “mistake” and said, “The State unit has no idea that India has changed”.

After the BJP fiasco over Muthalik, the Dakshina Kannada District Congress Committee (DCC) unit saw nothing wrong in admitting Dinakar Shetty. The District Congress Committee admitted Shetty, ostensibly with an eye on the Bunts votes in Mangalore, only to cancel his membership in the evening. The Congress leaders pleaded ignorance of Shetty’s antecedents and tendered an apology to women voters. “We worship women as goddesses. The induction of Shetty is a mistake by us. I am apologising to women,” Congress candidate B. Janardhana Poojary said with folded hands.

- Nagesh Prabhu

Dynastic politics, perpetually!

Janata Dal (S) leaders have often rejected the criticism that the party is made up of “father and son”. And party leaders would spare no occasion to make emotional appeals either to the electorate or to the party cadres to consolidate their base.

Party national president and the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, who is heard saying that “this will be my last election”, election after election, again asked the cadre to strengthen the party and get at least 15 candidates elected to the Lok Sabha this time.

In the same breath, he urged the workers to prepare for the next Assembly elections too. “Your (party) government has to return to this State. Let us make it a ‘model government’ by rectifying our earlier mistakes,” he said. Continuing, he said, “If the party comes to power, should I become the Chief Minister? If possible, H.D. Kumara-swamy [his son] would become Chief Minister. Someone else too could become Chief Minister.”

- Anil Kumar Sastry