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When you gotta go

columns Updated: Jul 23, 2011 22:39 IST
Indrajit Hazra
Indrajit Hazra
Hindustan Times
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If heels matched the size required to dig in and stand one's ground, then BS Yeddyurappa must be wearing giant platform shoes with built-in earth-gripping stilettos. I can see him in one of those big wind tunnels where Nasa used to test those now-defunct space shuttles with his face distorted out of shape and almost looking like HD Kumaraswamy. But the man is still not budging an inch.

I don't really blame him. When the chaps who have been defending you all this while that you've been implicated of handing out mining licences as if they were driving licences from your local auto authority, you are entitled to feel that there is no reason to step down. If they have defended you in the past, they will defend you in the present.

But the same chaps who have been sticking by Yeddyurappa thick and thin - making delightfully theological observations about how being 'immoral' is not the same as 'illegal' - now seem to be putting up a last show of support that is more to save their own reputations as doughty fighters than to really save the CM from the piranha pool. After all, which national party wants to be known as an 'immoral party', even though it's as legal as breaking wind inside a crowded lift? And if Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley really want to have a family fight, do they really need the excuse of fighting over a man sitting hundreds of miles away in Bangalore?

Now, the Karnataka lokayukta's report on illegal mining that has been leaked is supposed to have 'indicted' Yeddyurappa for letting a 'mafia-like' operation run in his backyard. On the face of it, that's not much of an indictment actually. So the state administration may have been found napping like Kumaraswamy's sleepwalking dad Deve Gowda. That's awful. But illegal? But if there was a direct, watertight indictment - like the one that the high court is now looking into about the chief minister allotting land in a dodgy manner to members of his family - surely the news reports would have quoted those bits from the leaked report rather than the finger-wags that we have already got to read about?

Unless...
...unless it's the BJP itself that had leaked the lokayukta report that will be tabled officially on Monday. By leaking the report, was this a last ditch attempt to affect its sanctity? Remember what happened with the Liberhan Commission report on the Babri Masjid issue when it was leaked weeks before the Gujarat assembly elections?

Apart from Karnataka lokayukta Santosh Hegde trashing this theory, there's another problem that lies in politics and not in jurisprudence. Yeddyurappa is no Narendra Modi. Till the lokayukta report leaked, the BJP central leadership was (barely) willing to treat him as a 'first-born' of sorts, that special fondness shown to the first BJP chief minister in the terra incognita for the party: South India.

But that charm has finally worn off. And no amount of 'But look, the Congress is more corrupt!' or placating the Dostoyevskian Brothers Bellary or 'We love Yeddyu's veshti' will make the BJP send a protective unit rushing to the airport when the CM returns from a Mauritian holiday on Monday.

For the party now has to play catch-up with the Congress that is already ahead in the gesture-politik of sacking rotten apples in its midst. Because, as the BJP will hopefully learn to its benefit, it's no longer about how many clean folks you have in your party. It's about how many tainted chaps you've removed. May the best party win.

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