Among the many charges that B.S. Yediyurappa parroted before every TV camera yesterday, nothing is more emblematic of the depths to which Karnataka politics has sunk than his allegation that he was facing a “death threat” from H.D. Deve Gowda and his family. Asked to elaborate, the god-fearing BJP leader said the former prime minister was indulging in “mata-mantra” (black magic) to get rid of him.
“I am facing a threat to my life. I am aware of the places where they are performing the (mata-mantra) pujas to finish me off. Many of his opponents have suffered this fate fate in the past, and I could be the latest victim. They will be responsible if anything happens to my life. I will write to the Home Department complaining against the black magic of Gowda and his sons. I will also write my will,” were Yediyurappa’s exact words.
While the charge of a death threat has become an insurance certificate for those in public life, what Yediyurappa’s allegation proves is how firmly Karnataka is now entrenched in the politics of revenge and retribution. And how its practitioners are reducing a great State to a joke on national television. But, seriously, what does it say for a political leader in the 21st century in “high-tech” Bangalore to believe in or fear of black magic? Does mata-mantra work? Is there proof? Or is Yediyurappa crying wolf to rouse the rabble?
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