E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: I was surprised to see the Ace Political Expert (APE) sitting in front of a crystal ball in his office. He also had a bull—kole Basava—next to him along with a parrot in a cage. Obviously, with the assembly dissolved, he had taken up gili shastra as a pastime.
“You are one of the keenest political observers in the State. You could analyse events and people and predict the future of governments and its leaders. What has come over you?” I asked.
“The politics in Karnataka has gotten so bizarre there is no point in doing political analysis any more. Anyway the State is mostly run on the advice of astrologers and soothsayers. I am earning far more ever since I switched over to this. You can ask whatever you want to know. I will do it free for you.”
I asked him the first question on everybody’s minds: “Who will win the next assembly elections?”
The APE mumbled something in Basava’s ears, scribbled something on a pad, and held it in front of the animal. The Basava nodded his head sideways.
“Obviously he doesn’t like your query. He feels nobody will get the majority. We will be back to square one.”
“Can your parrot at least say who will become the next chief minister?”
“Why not?” said the APE. He scribbled some names and held the chits of paper in front of his gili. I was about to watch gili shastra in action. The parrot made a screeching sound, made couple of sorties in its cage, and fiercely poked repeatedly on one of the sheets of paper.
“H.D. Revanna will be our next CM!” announced the APE after deciphering the torn sheet the bird had poked. “I myself would not have been able to predict this with such pinpoint accuracy with all the political acumen gathered over the years. But that’s how it is! Birds and Basavas will be better judges of political situation in future at least in Karnataka.”
“What about national politics? Can our Basavanna predict who will win the next Lok Sabha election?”
“Politically, I can’t even make a guess at this stage. But let’s see what Basava has to say.” The APE placed a set of colour-coded index cards depicting the symbols of various parties in front of Basava. Basava nodded his head up and down when he was shown the red card.
“Basava says, the Left will come to power after the next Lok Sabha elections!” said an excited APE.
“Will it be Prakasah Karat, Brinda Karat or Sitaram Yechury who will be the next Prime Minister?” I asked.
I was impatient.
“Don’t rush me. My gili will pick the name.”
“The gili did not pick up any names from the papers kept in front of it. Finally, it flew off the cage and tore a sheet off an old newspaper on which the APE had spread all his wares and dropped it in front of APE.
The torn sheet had a picture of Rahul Gandhi on it! That’s out-of-the-box thinking for you.
“Although the Left may win the election, they will not have the numbers to form the government on their own. They will form a coalition government with the Congress, with Rahul Gandhi as prime minister, and one of the Karats as deputy prime minister! My Basava and gili will never go wrong in their predictions,” said the APE.
As I came out, I saw quite a few ministers and MLAs of the defunct assembly waiting patiently for their turn outside.