Yeddy, Reddy, Chaddy...and nothing else...
Is India Inc missing something from what may finally end up as the present day Greco-South-Indian tragedy called the Yeddy-Reddy Grand Show?
Let us just consider the following:
Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddiyurappa a.k.a. “Yeddy” assailed by bigwigs of the political outfit to which he owes allegiance – the Bharatiya Janata Party has just managed to beat the rap.
A kind of a truce has been declared between Yeddy and his party boss Gadkari.
The heat against Yeddy has, however, not completely cooled off – at least from the side of the media.
To keep another rebel - this one a young Jagan Mohan Reddy from till recently in the Congress managed to chase a total has been called – K Rosiah who was the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh towards the latter's home, hearth and recline.
Instead one Kiran Kumar Reddy has been anointed in his place.
The proceedings did not humour Jagan Reddy and he promptly resigned from the Congress and his parliamentary seat as a prelude to form yet another regional party.
Amongst many causes the most apparent ones for these can be counted as:
A. The Reddy siblings of Karnataka [one of them is a minister in Yeddy’s cabinet] are crowned the “monarchs of insufferable indefensible notoriety” by a majority of Indians who suffer the surfeit of ‘Karnataka-news-nuisance’. The diadem is for their stranglehold over all types of mining of natural resources as well as their illegal exports from the near bone-dry district of Bellary and its nearest portof Karwar.
A game of Russian Roulette was being played out constantly and consistently with Yeddy by the Reddy Bros.
On the one hand, they are still daring him to sack them and shut their illegal shop. On the other, they are cajoling him to hold his horses even in respect of its mouth i.e., Kudremukh – the place where quite a bit of the iron is located and mined.
As a third but strange angle, both these cross purposes are being defeated by revealing through clever media plants evidence of monetary transactions of the gratification kind with the CM.
The long and the short of it all is that these antics could bring down the BJP ‘Vidhaana Souda’ [as the state’s massive stone secretariat is called] castle of cards in Karnataka sometime in the future.
B. Reddy Brothers are only returning the compliments said to have been doled out by Yeddy who, in their opinion, is clearly out to sell them down the river as part of his efforts to cleanse Karnataka’s Augean Stables by appointing incorruptible investigators to probe into their wrongdoings. Certain newspapers have alleged with reported evidence that the duo is planting money into the Yeddy clan’s bank accounts and in turn providing the evidence of the monies’ existence in the accounts as evidence of the CM’s perfidy to ‘pliable sections of the media’.
C A vast section of the BJP top brass – having been joyful recipients of the entertaining largesse in terms of hospitality extended during their Karnataka “pilgrimages” by the Reddy peas of the same pod and their “endeavour” to attempt to get the present parliament Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj win against Congress boss Sonia Gandhi when the latter contested from Bellary are said to be piqued at the continuing, confusing efforts of Yeddy.
“Instead of consolidating on the power-base, BSY is bent upon destroying it all by cutting at the very roots of the party’s prosperity,” are the constant rues at what a national saffron leader calls “the inevitably perceivable ruin of the Karnataka unit of the BJP”.
D. Meanwhile, a section of the Karnataka press corps and their national counterparts that term the Reddy Brothers “unforgivably cruel villains who loot the state” and are on the warpath against Yeddy. The CM is being faulted for running with the hares and hunting with the hounds on the Karnataka mining scam as his inexplicable inability to take action against the sinister Siamese Twins is infuriating many.
E. Sick of such pressure being applied from all sides, Yeddy has played the “I will break the party by playing a more successful Kalyan Singh of Behenji territory” card.
The threat appears to add up because the Lingayat community to which he belongs is more dominant than the second largest one – the Vokkaligas in Karnataka.
“The BJP will be forced to kiss its first and probably last southern bastion in the south goodbye forever,” Yeddy has been grimly announcing to the chagrin of the nation’s rightwing opposition.
It does seem that this joker in the pack has proved to be a winning card that has helped him to declare victory in this political game of gin rummy.
In the long run, however, it may prove to be Yeddy’s undoing due to the clear absence of ‘pure sequence run’ in the hand dealt to him.
His opponent and former CM HD Kumaraswamy, to complete the pack metaphor, seems to be still waiting for mere ‘touchers’ or extensions for his well set rummies in every hand dealt to him in with a kind of grim regularity.
But, there is obviously more to this than a card analogy!
Here is a check list.
1. A politically “angry young man” on the up and up in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh hailing from another bone dry region in the vicinity called Rayalaseema or its virtual capital – the rowdy Kadapa district is Jagan Mohan Reddy – son of the late CM Dr Y.S. Rajashekhar Reddy.
Though the name suggests otherwise, the Andhra Reddy scion belongs to a minority religious denomination.
The young Reddy, a winner in last year’s parliamentary elections has reasons to believe that his father’s death in a helicopter crash in the hills bordering Rayalaseema region was no accident.
Though yet to do so openly, Jagan Mohan has been quietly raising questions as to how, a nation equipped with the latest in satellite technology that can ensure the reading of flea entails from a 200 km height could not locate a massive metal junk of a crashed copter carrying his father and his bodyguards on the top of a hill for nearly 48 hours citing the fig-leaf ‘bad weather’ excuses almost 2 years ago.
Worse, his verbal diatribe against the Congress leadership [read Sonia] through his private satellite television channel whose name translates into English as “Witness” has already begun irking the veteran CM K Rosiah and the United Progressive Alliance [UPA] think tank.
The political whippersnapper claims that his father who tried to green the crag scarred Rayalaseema region and through it, the northern parts of another neighbouring Tamil Nadu by diverting waters from the eternally flooding Godavari River to raise the per capita income of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu masses was killed for the noble thought.
YSR had been prevented from doing so by vested interests in the Congress dominated by well-fed political heavyweights from the ever wet fertile coastal region of the state ever wet thanks to rivers Godavari, Thungabhadra and Krishna besides copious rainfall, the younger Reddy avers.
Dr YSR, a qualified medical practitioner had missed the bus for Chief Minister’s post to N. Janardhan Reddy from Nellore, a prosperous, south eastern coastal town of Andhra Pradesh in 1992 and had been virtually written off in political terms.
NJR [as the then CM preferred to be addressed seemingly at par with the late Telugu thespian CM NTR – or Nandamuri Taraka Ramarao who also hailed from the neighbourhood] had ridiculed the river-water-sharing with anyone during a chat with this writer in 1992.
“Why should I give my water to Tamil Nadu? God has cursed that state with less water, so they have to suffer,” NJR, a close friend of the then Congress mainstay from Tamil Nadu – GK Moopanar – had said with a lot of bitter emphasis.
When one pointed out that nearly 3,000 TMC ft of water was being expended into the Bay of Bengalwhile drought stifled several parts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, NJR sneered.
“The river is taking a natural course to the sea. Instead of interfering with divinity’s diktat, let those less fortunate learn to compromise with their fate and pray for a better life in the next birth in more fertile lands,” the CM had said.
In spite of having been at the wrong end of a left-handed compliment coined by the press with active inputs from this correspondent in terming him the “eternal dissident”, YSR maintained good relations with the media.
During a chat then, he termed the attitude of NJR as “anti-national”.
“The anti-national actions of persons driving wedges amongst the populace citing destiny are the real root causes for the loony leftwing extremist violence. Water is not anyone’s grandfather’s property. It belongs to the entire south India. Those leading cushy lives in the green coastal regions do not understand the problems of us ordinary mortals deep inside in the bone dry areas,” YSR had said without mincing words.
YSR had led the Congress to victory against all expectations and media blitzkrieg by the washed-up tinsel town veteran and new political entrant Chiranjeevi whose large crowds misled virtually everyone last year during the assembly and parliamentary elections held jointly in Andhra Pradesh.
Neither the extreme rightwing propaganda about his minority origins and evil designs to gobble up the temple town of Tirupati nor the extreme leftwing call to politically exterminate the eternal “people’s upper caste enemy number 1” cut any ice with the voters and YSR returned to power to a thumping majority.
It also seemed like the budding of yet another political dynastic rule in yet another state.
The only son and heir of YSR – his son Jagan was elected to Lok Sabha.
Serious political observers of the southern scene had heard rumours that YSR was widening his support base in the south by attempting to be close to the Karnataka Reddy Brothers and extending an olive branch to the DMK in Tamil Nadu and armed with such a base effectively counter the threat of the proposed division of Andhra Pradesh by hiving off another bone dry area called Telengana to the advantage of a political opponent Chandrasekhara Rao.
To achieve these ends, YSR had reportedly “harvested” huge sums of money running into tens of thousands of crores of rupees – a sore minus point in the disfavour of YSR’s career from real estate companies and promoters of shady resorts – an undeniable blot on his political career towards its unnatural end.
And this huge treasure chest along with those available in Karnataka with the BJP dissidents – now presumably within the reach of the younger Reddy scion, may achieve his late father’s grandiose scheme, the younger Reddy’s supporters predict.
“There may be something to what Jagan suspects about his father’s death. The kind of huge chunks of metal like that of a chopped up chopper will be electronically visible to infra-red eyes of satellites regardless of any type of foul weather. And there may several nebulous ideas yet to crystallise in the mind of the young politician understandably peeved at what can be suspected as his unexplained father’s murder for which several forces have been blamed from the richest of the rich Indian industrialist to the poorest of the poor Maoist insurgents,” a retired police officer who served in Andhra Pradesh and at the centre told this correspondent.
“Something similar in political terms like what the late YSR had dreamt of had been attempted in the immediate aftermath of the defeat of Indira Gandhi in 1977 by K. Bramhananda Reddy, N. Sanjeeva Reddy [who later became President of India] and their political disciple Dr M. Chenna Reddy – all efficient khadi-clad efficient fundraisers”.
“Some journalists even derisively called it the ‘Chaddy’ Congress”.
The term means abdominal underwear in Mumbai’s gutter Hindi dialect that also denotes the chassis of cars pointing to politicians’ solid power-bases.
“After Gandhi returned to power in 1980, while Dr Chenna Reddy was back in the political reckoning. Sanjeeva Reddy and Bramhananda became forgotten historical footnotes. Whether YSR had such grandiose plans and lost his life owing to that needs careful study,” the officer averred.
There are, however, other stings to this tale’s tail.
2. Chaffing under the sustained attacks by the Congress, DMK boss and Tamil Nadu CM Dr M Karunanidhi has begun seeing BJP bigwigs again.
The other day, a senior Tamil Nadu functionary of the party met the CM to ‘handover a wedding invitation’ on behalf of a better placed BJP functionary.
It is a move to obviously cock a snook the young Congress Turks spawned by the actions of Rahul Gandhi whom Karunanidhi derisively terms privately as “a naïve leader of khadi-clad Tamil upstarts”.
The “upstarts” have been repeatedly pointing out that Karunanidhi has resolutely refused to share power in Tamil Nadu despite completely depending on the 34 Congress legislators for survival for the past 4 years plus.
“While we cannot get a peon appointed in the government, time and again our workers get beaten up by anti-national rowdies belonging to fissiparous parties like the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi [VCK] – the TN version of Dalit Panthers of India – within the premises of our state headquarters,” Karti Chidambaram, the son of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has pointed out in several public meetings.
The younger Chidambaram has reason enough to be angry.
VCK boss Thol Thirumavalavan who openly is a supporter of the banned Tamil Tiger rebel outfit that assassinated Rajiv Gandhi managed to win his maiden parliamentary seat thanks to the support of the Congress in the reserve constituency ironically called Chidambaram.
Worse, while VCK has just one MLA whose support the DMK is not exactly sure of in the state assembly, the Congress legislature party is keeping at least the DMK government [derided everyday by the main Jayalalithaa led opposition as the ‘minority regime’] and has so far got precious little in terms of political mileage for the trouble.
As if all this isn’t enough, one A. Raja, central telecom minister till the other day has an axe to grind.
“This regime has perpetrated grave injustice to a poor Dalit from a backward district’s reserve constituency,” he has been telling friends, carefully omitting that the poor Dalit’s actions have left the nation poorer by nearly Rs.176,000 crores.
A bulk of that money is with his party’s leadership that had resolutely fought against all clear suggestions demanding Raja’s resignation.
Worse, after Raja quit, the portfolio has gone to the Congress’s articulate, legal fire fighter – Kapil Sibal.
The Supreme Court has keep the Damocles’ sword hanging on the PM and Raja after having reserved its order.
3. When destabilised, if Yeddy carries out his threat of breaking the BJP with some help, hindrance or indirect goading from the Bellary Reddy Brothers with whom he continues to share a love-hate relationship, manages to establish a political relationship with the younger Reddy from Andhra Pradesh to change the political equation with the help of the odd BJP functionary in Tamil Nadu and finally successfully contrives to rope in Karunanidhi – the south may end up becoming yet another boiling cauldron of political activity that may affect many equations at the centre.
If not anyone else, the incorruptible former Supreme Court Judge and current Karnataka ombudsman Santosh Hegde will certainly indict Yeddy and push him over the brink.
The late YSR rumoured to have begun such a gamble had perhaps lost his life at such a critical time through enemy action or otherwise.
Arguably, it was a high stakes game then and so it is now.
4. Yeddy is clever enough to discern that he needs to do something dramatic for his own political survival. And to get this done, he may not think twice before publicly embracing with the Bellary Beelzebub within his cabinet – G Janardhan Reddy.
Cocksure of the internally fractured Tamil Nadu unit of the Congress and the remoteness of his political bete noire J Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi is said to be contemplating use of the massive monetary windfall from the 2G Spectrum scam to impress on one and all that he and his party controlled by his family are the ones to call the shots in Tamil Nadu in the forthcoming assembly elections.
The political vendetta of Jagan and Karunanidhi plus the political survival of Yeddy in Karnataka greased by the huge wealth at the command of all the entities in their respective states, by the very implication of regional destabilisation by the Congress leadership through what seems like concerted action by its state unit, may end up upsetting the national applecart of Sonia and her son Rahul Gandhi despite the going seeming to be good at present.
Scandals breaking out all over India starting with the CWG, 2G Spectrum, and the never-ending land-deals of Mumbai may actually contribute to and hasten this fall.
5. If anyone believes that Yeddy and Karunanidhi may be successfully hit by the Congress as a diversionary tactic to brush the dirt from elsewhere under the carpet in the near future, one should think again for careful aim is being taken at the central regime by a group of smart southern politicians smarting under the past and present insults.
The DMK regime in Chennai was dismissed twice by the Congress – once for corruption in 1975 and the second time for anti-national activity in 1991.
Later, the Deve Gowda regime at the centre was sent home packing owing the unwillingness of the DMK ministers to quit the cabinet in the nineties.
Karunanidhi has a long political memory.
Has Karunanidhi stretched his luck too far by having threatened to revive the separatist plank thrice within a period of 45 days to avenge the belabouring suffered by his favourite late nephew and former Union Minister Murasoli Maran and political heir apparent deputy CM M.K. Stalin both of whom received near crippling blows from those in uniform during the emergency?
Karunanidhi knows for sure that any move on his part will obviously not directly or indirectly help either the BJP or the Congress because the former has no worthwhile base in Tamil Nadu and the latter’s is shrinking.
Arguably, by going it alone in Tamil Nadu’s ensuing assembly polls, the Congress can play spoilsport – but the party’s think tank in New Delhiknows clearly that such a move would only help Jayalalithaa at whose hands the BJP and the Congress have suffered hugely in the past.
The Janata Party did the same in 1980 – and ended up helping the late MGR’s comeback after being dismissed sans explanation post the 1980 parliamentary elections during which Indira Gandhi who had sacked Karunanidhi for corruption and had herself lost at the hustings on account of emergency excesses and name-called for that by the Tamil Nadu veteran came together to defeat MGR in one of the most opportunistic alliances.
Neither the Congress not the BJP wants Jayalalithaa – present leader of opposition, admittedly a devout Hindu and the de facto femme fatale of Tamil Nadu politics’ ‘so-called’ Periyar-disciple to profit from the situation.
Such a development suits Karunanidhi to a ‘T’ more than anyone else.
For Yeddy and the other Reddy in Andhra, it is a matter of political survival.
For the latter, it also may mean the meaningful personal vendetta for the latter’s perceived murder of his father.
But, whether the combination of huge ill-gotten wealth and political skulduggery prove to be ‘vital king-making inputs’ or main causes for falls from power as has happened in the nineties in the forms of the United Front governments of Inder Gujral and Deve Gowda can only be discerned after the passage of an adequate amount of time.
There may be a lull following the massive victory of Nitish Kumar in Bihar and the breather Yeddy has got in Karnataka.
But, in my opinion, all that is the deadly calm before the devastating, ensuing storm.