M. MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda has been used to being called many different names on many different occasions by many detractors during his long and chequered innings in politics.
But the latest epithet comes from unexpected quarters—not from any run-of-the-mill Karnataka politician but a Jain monk, Gennady Maharaja.
The monk, known for not mincing words, has dubbed Gowda as a “dhoke baaz” (Hindi for one who does not keep promises) and accused the latter’s son, the Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, of treading the path of his father.
The diatribe against Gowda & Son came on Sunday when Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was visiting Varur, a village about ten kilometres away from Hubli, which has emerged as jain centre of pilgrimage thanks to the perseverance of the Swamiji in installing the statues of nine Jain thirthankars.
The dhoke baaz label was slapped on Gowda in the presence of the various VIPs and VVIPs who were present. Two serving ministers Jagadish Shettar and C.M. Udasi also had the misfortune of hearing their chief minister being berated in public.
It appears that what had irked the Jain swami was Kumaraswamy’s repeated failure or reluctance to visit Varur although it has has emerged as a major Jain pilgrim centre visited by “VVIPs” at the national and state level including L.K. Advani and Shekawat.
Kumaraswamy was in Hubli to participate in the programme of the Vice President but did not accompany the latter on a visit to Varur. One of the reasons advanced is that the place is jinxed for a Chief Minister like Chamarajanagar or Hampi, and that any Chief Minister who visits them gets unseated.