Above: Congress MLAs stand up his chair during the assembly session at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru on July 19/Photo: UNI
The events in Karnataka where a group of legislators have rebelled and switched allegiance to the BJP has caused much heartburn and sleepless nights in the Vidhana Soudha, not to mention constitutional experts breaking down in frustration in trying to decipher whether anti-defection laws have been broken. Meanwhile, the rebels are being given seven-star treatment, or 15-star depending on what the final number is. Do they feel the slightest twinge of remorse for the damage they have done to parliamentary democracy? Read on.
Rebel One: This is the life. Sitting by the pool in a luxury hotel following a stint at a luxury resort, being ferried around in a private aircraft, reading the news about myself and fellow rebels on a brand new Mac Book Pro Gold edition, it can’t get better than this. I now realise how much sacrifice is involved in choosing to join politics…
Rebel Two: Yes, I agree, I should be home with my wife and son but it’s a small price to pay, especially since we are not paying for anything. Talking about the gift of a laptop, the last time I switched sides, I was given an Acer Ferrari One which my son says has made him the envy of his classmates…
Rebel Three: This is my first time so I am unfamiliar with such distinctions. Tell me, how many times have you switched sides?
Rebel Two: This will make it my third crossing, I find it very rewarding.
Rebel Four: Do you not feel any remorse, any guilt for switching sides so frequently?
Rebel Two: Let me put it this way. My son, who is an IT professional, has switched jobs four times in the last five years, each time it was because he was being offered better pay and perks. What is his crime?
Rebel Four: Bangalore is full of IT professionals. Information technology is the future, I agree.
Rebel Two (sheepishly): Actually, the IT in his case stands for Insider Trading, and he’s very good at that
Rebel Five: Has anyone tried the spa? It’s very good; they recommended a massage called Happy Ending which apparently is a specialty of Thailand. It seemed appropriate in the circumstances but I had to decline since I was the only rebel in the spa; as we all know, there’s safety in numbers. By the way, what is the latest number?
Rebel One: Till this morning it was 18, but now the writing is on the wall and the rewards getting difficult to refuse, it could go up even higher.
Rebel Three: I must admit it has been a rewarding journey up till now, in Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s private aircraft, the promises made which should ensure that I don’t have to worry about my grandson’s future. I’m afraid the JDS and Congress cannot match any of the offers we are getting.
Rebel Three: My only demand was to be made a minister, preferably as Deputy Chief Minister, sounds very grand and powerful.
Rebel Four: My worry is that people, mainly those who voted for us as coalition candidates, will start questioning our sudden change of lifestyle, luxury cars, children studying abroad, farmhouses or mansions. Will we not have to declare all this if the assembly is dissolved and fresh elections announced?
Rebel Two: Not to worry saar, I have become an expert at negotiating these unmanned crossings. There are experts who will tell us how to avoid such situations and declarations. Consider it a tax-free bonus. Also, if you are getting stressed, there is Plan B, which is that you complain of chest pain, we fly you in a private plane to Mumbai, where, after a check-up, you check-in to the same five-star hotel we stayed in, to rest and recover.
Rebel Six: We have a guarantee that all 18 of us patriots will be given cabinet berths, some upper berths some lower, but there are compensation packages. Also, we will be given prime time exposure on Republic TV which is owned by Rajeev Chandrasekhar and where Arnab Goswami will greet us personally and hail us as heroes for saving Indian democracy from anti-nationals elements.
Rebel Four: That sounds great, who are these anti-national elements we are saving democracy from by switching sides?
Rebel Two: ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Pakistan army, Hafeez Saeed, the Gandhi family, Rationalists, NGOs, JNU students, it’s a long list.
Rebel Four: Now, that makes me feel so much better.