On a not-so-bright horizon, not-so-bad news

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN writes from Hubli: At a time when politicians put even rats to shame in their race for the political trapdoor, it is very rare that somebody offers to step down for somebody else. Incredible as it may sound, just such a thing has happened in the Congress camp.

Admittedly, the Congress’ official list of nominees for the assembly elections is still not out, but D.R. Patil, who has been representing the Gadag constituency unfailingly from 1992 after the death of his uncle K.H. Patil, and would in all probability have got the party ticket again this time, has bowed out.

When the Congress’ election committee was meeting in Bangalore the other day, Patil sprang a surprise by submitting a letter to the party leadership that he was opting out of the contest this, time albeit to enable his cousin H.K. Patil, a four-term MLC.

Surprise No. 1 is the timing. The biennial elections to the Legislative Council from the north-west graduates constituency which H.K. Patil represents are also due. If they had so chosen, both Patils could have sought to extend their winning run by one more term.

Surprise No. 2 is the explanation. D.R. Patil made way so that his younger cousin could prove his mettle at the hustings. “He was taunted by his traducers for not facing direct elections last time. I had decided then and there to opt out in his favour and the time has come now,” he says.

Although any more praise would sound greasy, it must be placed on record that D.R Patil as chairman of the assurance committee of the legislative council had worked behind the scenes in bringing historic changes of the transfer of power to the panchayat raj institutions in Karnataka in quite an unobtrusive manner.