What Does CM Yeddyurappa Want from Karnataka? Swalpa Adjust Maadi!


What Does CM Yeddyurappa Want from Karnataka? Swalpa Adjust Maadi!

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

On Tuesday morning, the whole of Karnataka woke up with a feverish excitement as to who would form the next government. In a country that has, bit by bit, been won over by the BJP, Karnataka is one of the few states where the Congress seemed like it actually had a shot of coming back to power. This is not on the basis of some exemplary work or having achieved something for the people of the state – but the fact that the memories of when the BJP was in power last, were still fresh in people’s minds.

Or, well, so we thought.

To give a little background, let’s rewind to the 2008 state assembly elections where the BJP pulled off a Houdini with Operation Kamala that allowed them to poach MLAs from other parties to make up their numbers. Why the lovely name Kamala was chosen for this act is still a mystery. This morning, after high drama in the courts at midnight, we might witness a repeat of 2008. Except this time, it will have the sanction and complicity of the judiciary, the executive, and the legislature. This is Kamala Ka Hamla Part Deux.

And the people of Karnataka will watch on, without much of a say in the proceedings.

Karnataka is synonymous with a phrase: “Swalpa adjust maadi”. Translated from the Kannada, it simply means adjust a little.

In the days of yore, Bangalore was known as a pensioner’s city.

At the halfway mark, HD Kumaraswamy, the JD(S) chief, had refused to vacate the place for the BJP chief minister as agreed

Then, it became pub city.

But the people, being non-confrontational and ever ready to accommodate others, adjusted.

Swalpa adjust maadi.

When the IT boom began, real estate prices shot up. Land barons and real estate companies presumed everyone to be a techie with deep pockets.

Tree-lined roads and parks were razed to make way for swanky glass structures and old homes with histories were brought down and multi-storeyed apartments came in their place. But the people of Karnataka took it in their stride.

Swalpa adjust maadi.

While other cities expect outsiders to adjust to their way of life, the people of Karnataka were quite happy to adjust themselves to the outsiders. As with any city which witnesses unchecked migration, the culture of the city underwent a swift churn. At times, this meant that boorish people from outside the state could boss around the locals.

Swalpa adjust maadi.

I was in Delhi recently. My lack of fluency in the Hindi department was a huge impediment. In Bangalore, there is no such impediment. You can try your luck with Hindi, Tamil, or Telugu and still get on with your work.

Swalpa adjust maadi.

Bangalore was once the garden city of India. If it were to get a new moniker now, it would probably be traffic jam city. Or the city of burning lakes. Unplanned development has meant that people who struck it rich in the start-up culture are spending half their time stuck in traffic and videos of lakes catching fire are going viral.

Swalpa adjust maadi.

Indiranagar used to be a sleepy residential area with wide roads and many trees. Now, residents are forced to co-exist with open-air pubs that blare music into the night. Numerous pleas to officials have fallen on deaf ears. Maybe they can’t hear it over the din of all the thumping music.

Swalpa adjust maadi.

In all my growing up years in the city, I’ve always seen auto drivers in Bangalore charge by meter. They were the preferred mode of transport before the Olas and Ubers of the world came along. At some point, that changed – now the overcharging makes me think I’ve landed in Chennai or Delhi. Even today, unless you book an auto using an app, the odds of them charging you metered fare are next to a corruption-free government.

Swalpa adjust maadi.

Why a lot of people have chosen to make Bangalore their home is precisely because of this – they are made to feel welcome. People adjust.

And people will adjust to the shenanigans of the BJP and the way the government is going to be formed. Yeddyurappa has already taken the oath of office as chief minister. He gets 15 days to prove his party’s majority; basically open season for horse-trading lawmakers. The Congress and JD(S), in a valiant attempt, have packed off their legislators to a five-star resort to avoid poaching.

This is what happened the last time the BJP was in power. They tied up with the JD(S) and struck an agreement to share the chief minister’s seat for half the entire tenure. The fact that such an agreement was arrived at itself is baffling.

At the halfway mark, HD Kumaraswamy, the JD(S) chief, had refused to vacate the place for the BJP chief minister as agreed. The house was dissolved and president’s rule imposed on the state. When Yeddyurappa took over as CM, the JD (S) withdrew their support and fresh elections were called for. BS Yeddyyurappa came to power. In three years, he was indicted on corruption charges and for the remaining tenure, the chief ministers changed twice until the next election.

All of this power-mongering at the expense of the Karnataka taxpayer.

In 2018, as we wait for the next move of the dramatis personae, only one thing is for certain. There will be no stable government until the floor test is over.

What will the people here do until then?

Simple. Swalpa adjust maadi.