Considering how television channels endlessly reported every word uttered by leaders big and small during the bypoll campaign, one expected a detailed coverage and analysis on the day of results. But surprisingly, that was not to be.
A little past noon, once it was clear that the BJP and the Congress had tied 1-1, all channels, simultaneously and quite miraculously, got “exclusive” video footage of the late actor Puneeth Rajkumar’s last moments before he travelled to the hospital. Bypoll results fell by the wayside, as TV anchors across channels held forth on how fit as a fiddle he looked just minutes before his death.
Which mysterious “source” had supplied the footage just in time so that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s acute embarrassment of losing a constituency in his home district was camouflaged and viewers’ attention diverted? No prizes for guessing.
Temple for VIPs
Devotees visiting the annual Hasanamba festival in Hassan pay different prices to have a darshan of the deity. While the poor stand in long queues for hours, elected representatives, senior members of bureaucracy, judicial officers, and media people get special passes to visit the temple. Some rich devotees, who do not want to stand in queues, purchase passes paying ₹300 and ₹1,000.
Besides the VIPs themselves, those who enjoy the influence of elected representatives and officers get special entry during the 10-day festival. This year too, every time a contingent with VIP and his supporters arrived, the police allowed them inside the temple forcing other devotees to wait. During one such occasion, a few devotees raised their voice against the district administration’s handling of the festival and arrangements made. One particularly angry devotee told a hapless policeman manning the queue that the administration would do well to hand over the temple to the VIPs.
BJP leader and Forest Minister Umesh Katti (in picture), who has been advocating the creation of a separate North Karnataka State for some years now, has hardly spoken about it ever since he became part of the State Cabinet. Mr. Katti faces accusation from some quarters of talking about the separate state issue when not in power.
Bengaluru: Newly inducted Karnataka Cabinet Minister Umesh Katti during the oath-taking ceremony, at Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak) (PTI01_13_2021_000248B)
The Minister, who in the past claimed that he would be the unanimous candidate for the post of Chief Minister if a separate state was formed, recently threatened to raise the demand again if the State Government did not release enough money for the next phase of the Upper Krishna Project. He made it a point to underline it for the benefit of the scribes. Reminding scribes about the issue, he said: “Please note, I am raising this issue despite being a Minister. You people keep saying that I don’t raise the demand for a separate state when I am in power.”
Rishikesh Bahadur Desai