E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The Chief Secretary called the meeting of Secretaries to order.
Keeping in mind the stringent criticism of the Dharam Singh government last year on Rajyostsava awards as catering to only the glitterati, H.D. Kumaraswamy had asked the CS to broad base the Rajyotsava Awards 2006 to include as many to coincide with the 51st year of formation of Karnataka.
The instruction from the Chief Secretary to his colleagues was loud and clear: “Be innovative. Let’s hit ‘51’ everywhere. Go get ‘em!”
The transport secretary got up to start. “My Minister told me to include all vehicle owners whose registration numbers end with ‘51’ for Rajyotsava 2006. Here’s the list of scooter, moped, motorcycle, tempo, taxi, maxicab, autorickshaw, tonga, wheel cart, car and lorry owners who fall in the category. The number comes to over 5,000 from our side. Of course we will update this list as we go along till the awards’ night.”
“Good. What have you got for us?” the CS asked the education secretary.
“Azim Premji is personally helping us. All students from creche to degree class whose ID number ends with ‘51’ have been rounded up. I have also included students whose bus passes end with ‘51’ into the list. It’s quite possible it should come under the transport ministry. If I take it into my list, I’ve 15,000 awardees lined up for the big night.”
“Let’s not quibble over such trivia. We need numbers real fast. Understand!”
“I have included ration card holders, bank and post office account holders, senior citizens accounts, retired defense personnel, etc. All people with accounts ending with ‘51’ will be there on November 1 to receive the Awards. I am able to mop up another 15,000 so far.” That was the Finance Secretary.
“Fine. We need to get the Common Man into this. I will take the help of Sudha Murthy! I will visit hospitals and prisons around the State myself and get another 20,000 who will reach ‘51’ years by November 2006. I will attend CM’s Janata Darshan from now on and try and get another 15,000. How much does it all add up to?” the Chief Secretary asked.
“Sir, the awardees will be 51,000-plus. Where can we find a place for all of them?”
“I will talk to Brijesh Patel and get Chinnaswamy Stadium for a night. We can squeeze all the awardees in the stands. Since the public who come to watch such functions will be just a handful, we can put them with the dignitaries on the pitch along with the Governor, CM and the cabinet ministers.”
One of the secretaries asked, “Sir, here will be a question. What is the contribution of the awardees to Karnataka?”
Just say, “They and their families have endured last 51 years of rule.”
“Sir, one last question,” asked another secretary. “Where should we sit?”
“Don’t be silly! There won’t be enough space. We will have to watch it on TV in the pavilion. I will get Chandana to cover it live on DD.”