Jag Venugopal's Blog

January 31, 2011

Indian Chief Minister claims black magic used to oust him

Filed under: India — Jag @ 11:00 pm

Meet B. S. Yeddyurappa, the Chief Minister of Karnataka State (of which the capital is Bangalore), and a leading light of that great self-appointed steward of Hindu culture, the Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP).

Yeddy’s forte is in doling out government largesse to temples big and small, within his state and outside, praying for political success. Never mind that India is constitutionally secular, with supposed separation between Church and State. His largesse comes from a state exchequer unable to fund any improvements to roads, water, or power in Bangalore (as anyone who has traveled there recently can attest). Yeddy is expert at enriching friends and family through grants of prime parcels of land in and around Bangalore.

Yeddy’s latest claim is that his political opponents are using “black magic” to oust him from office. Doubtless, that will lead to much propitiation of the gods, to ward off the evil effects, at temples hither and yon. I wouldn’t be surprised if he visits the odd mosque or church, to cover all bases (couldn’t hurt to win a few brownie points with the minority voters). Of course, given his exalted status, he will have to travel by helicopter or private jet. All of this will, of course, be paid by the Karnataka state government, or ultimately, the taxpayer.

The Wall Street Journal recently had a glowing op-end on the business-friendly climate in another state (Gujarat, ironically also BJP-ruled), where the Chief Minister is known for his personal probity and doesn’t have any descendants to shower government largesse on. Comparisons were made to Japan and Korea in the early stages of their growth. If one were to stretch the analogy to Karnataka, one can truly say that it is a Zimbabwe in the making.

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