Imagine a marriage reception ceremony where the groom and bride are standing on the dais. Suddenly, some member from the groom’s side gives a loose comment about the bride’s side and few moments later, it’s vice versa. This continues for some time. The groom and bride are angry at the opposite sides respectively. However, they are not allowed to separate but are insisted by elders to keep a smiling face to the cameras pointing at them.
Is the overall picture clear in your head? Good.
The groom and bride are Congress and JD(S) coalition government in Karnataka.
All this started in 2018.
The people of Karnataka gave a fractured mandate in the assembly polls and it started.
First, there was huge cry over ‘Operation Kamala’ allegedly being done by state BJP to poach MLAs to their party (Maybe, an old lover?). When that did not happen and Cong-JD(S) took over, multiple news of bribery incidents popped up, most of them losing their credibility as there was no genuine proof. By the time this ‘Naataka’ in Karnataka was dying down and everything seemed mundane and dry, the priest entered the marriage hall – ‘Lok Sabha election.’
Seeing the priest approach, the groom and bride said that they are going stable and are together. The onlookers thought that there will be a good bonding henceforth.
It was then that Mandya constituency became a national highlight. Sumalatha Ambareesh (Wife of late congressman and veteran actor Ambareesh, who held the Mandya constituency from Congress) decided to contest as an independent candidate in Mandya after being denied ticket from Congress as Nikhil Kumaraswamy was announced as the Mandya candidate from the coalition side.
BJP, in order to spice up the challenge, did not field their candidate and supported Sumalatha. A lot of JD(S) leaders went on to abuse both Sumalatha and the people who campaigned for her on a personal level with derogatory remarks. At the same time, an old video of Nikhil Kumaraswamy and HD Kumaraswamy dramatizing a public function got surfaced and the meme industry got lit with ‘Nikhil Elliddeeyappa?’ (Nikhil, where are you?) memes.
(For those of you who don’t know what this video is all about, here is the explanation.
During September 2016, Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy, had his movie ‘Jaguar’ audio launch program in Mandya district. During the ceremony, there was a choreographed scene on stage which was highly dramatic. Nikhil was hiding among the public and when the CM, while on stage, searched for his son saying ‘Nikhil Elliddeeyappa?’, Nikhil showed himself among the audience saying that he is among the people who love his father and grandfather more than their lives. the whole program looked like a horrible PR exercise for HD Kumaraswamy and his son.
Now that the marriage is over and the only people gaining in this sham ceremony are the media covering it, the husband and wife need to set their houses in order at least now. Whether this marriage sees its term or not, only time will tell.
Every time, some loose talk is heard from either side, the elders rush in front of the media to assure that everything is fine. However, the next minute, there’s another one coming. Every patch up statement looks like it has a P.S: ‘I hate you.’
There is a short ‘kagga’ (short poem) by the late DV Gundappa which summarizes this one year of governance by the Congress-JD(S) coalition:
“ಸರಕಾರ ಹರಿಗೋಲು ತೆರೆಸುಳಿಗಳತ್ತಿತ್ತ,
ಸುರೆ ಕುಡಿದ ಕೆಲವರು ಹುಟ್ಟು ಹಾಕುವರು.
ಬಿರುಗಾಳಿ ಬೀಸುವುದು ಜನರೆದ್ದು ಕುಣಿಯುವರು,
ಉರುಳದಿಹುದಚ್ಚರಿಯೊ ಮಂಕುತಿಮ್ಮ! ”
(The government is like an Indian coracle boat with whirlpools surrounding it,
Intoxicated people are rowing and guiding seeming themselves fit,
A mighty wind blows & the people jump up to the tune of it,
But somehow, to the onlooker, the boat not toppling, ’tis a gimmick!)