Bengaluru, July 16: When was the last time you saw a "big man" (a VIP with a bulging belly--big in both stature and physicality) crying like a baby in a public platform? Such instances are hard to recall, because they say "men don't cry" and there is no question of big men crying in front of all-- to avoid exposing their basic human nature.
But things have changed over the years. We have seen the likes of tennis champion Andy Murray and former American vice president Joe Biden--all exposed and vulnerable--as tears rolled down their cheeks. In those emotional moments, the audience too shed tears with their role models.
On Sunday, a video went viral where teary-eyed Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy was seen wiping his face with a towel. Kumaraswamy broke down while addressing his party men at a meeting and told them categorically that he was "unhappy" heading the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S))-Congress coalition government in the southern state.
The "troubled" CM said his party workers were happy while he was not. "You are happy that your brother has become the chief minister, but I am not happy. The pain that I have within me, I have it like Vishakantha (a reference to Lord Shiva drinking poison). I did not become the chief minister to flaunt the title, but to fulfil the unfinished agenda of my father," Kumaraswamy said at a felicitation function hosted by his party in Bengaluru on Saturday.
The "crying" episode of Kumaraswamy was read by different people in different ways. The media was quick to point out that tears in Kumaraswamy's eyes were a reflection of myriad troubles within the coalition government.
It is no more a secret that the JD(S) and the Congress are not on the same page on various issues even though both the parties are jointly running an alliance government after the Karnataka Assembly elections threw a fractured mandate in May.
While the voters of Karnataka were once again left shocked to see the most powerful man in the state in a state of utter helplessness, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called Kumaraswamy a "legendary actor who has constantly fooled common man with his amazing acting skills."
"& the best acting award goes to..Our country has produced talented actors. Actors who have mesmerised the audience with their brilliant performance, here we have another legendary actor Mr Kumaraswamy, an actor who has constantly fooled common man with his amazing acting skills," tweeted the BJP.
& the best acting award goes to..— BJP Karnataka (@BJP4Karnataka) July 15, 2018
Our country has produced talented actors. Actors who have mesmerised the audience with their brilliant performance, here we have another legendary actor Mr Kumaraswamy, an actor who has constantly fooled common man with his amazing acting skills pic.twitter.com/SNfi9LsAS6
The Congress tried to downplay the whole incident. Kumaraswamy's colleague from the Congress and deputy CM G Parameshwara on Sunday reacted to his boss' "emotional outburst". Parameshwara stated that Kumaraswamy must be "definitely happy" and that "if he is happy, we all will be happy".
Parameshwara said that a CM "has to be always happy". "How can he say that? He must be definitely happy, the CM has to be always happy, if he is happy we all will be happy," Parameshwara told reporters.
Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge asked the Karnataka CM to be "courageous".
"You have to face problems. Simply expressing (crying) won't give good message to the people who supported secular parties. Kumaraswamy should be courageous to face such circumstances," said Kharge with an attempt to pep up the CM.
You've to face problems. Simply expressing won't give good message to people who supported secular parties. Kumaraswamy should be courageous to face such circumstances: M Kharge on K'taka CM breaking down y'day saying 'I know pain of coalition govt. I swallowed pain of this govt' pic.twitter.com/2u17p2XrZA— ANI (@ANI) July 15, 2018
The JD(S) called Kumaraswamy's "weeping" and his expression of "unhappiness" as an "emotional outburst". The CM's party denied having any rift with its alliance partner.
"That was merely an emotional outburst and some in the media are reading too much into it," JD(S) general secretary and spokesperson Danish Ali told reporters.
"There are no strains between the Congress and the JD(S) and the coalition government in Karnataka is stable and will complete its five-year term under a common minimum programme for the welfare of the people in the state including farmers, Dalits and other oppressed classes," added Ali.
Except during the initial days, the foes-turned-friends--the JD(S) and the Congress--never looked "happy" together. Both the parties stood united like two brothers to keep the BJP out of power in Karnataka.
But once their "mission impossible" succeeded, the infighting within the coalition government became too frequent to be ignored. Things were anything but smooth once the coalition government started its rule in the southern state with Kumaraswamy as the CM.
Right from allocation of portfolios to farm loan waiver, the JD(S) and the Congress are having regular "tiffs" like a "couple on the verge of a divorce". Earlier also Kumaraswamy minced no words when he told reporters that he was "at the mercy of the Congress" before taking any decisions.
When the Congress and the JD(S) decided to join hands in Karnataka by forgetting all their past animosity, the tie-up was hailed as the coming together of "secular forces" under one platform to challenge the Narendra Modi government in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Several top leaders from various "anti-BJP parties" attended Kumaraswamy's swearing-in ceremony in May in Bengaluru. The likes of Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Sitaram Yechury, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Chandrababu Naidu and others standing together holding each other's hands at Kumaraswamy's swearing-in ceremony was seen by the political analysts as the making of the Mahagathbandhan or the grand alliance against the BJP.
As the trouble in Karnataka's coalition government is refusing to die down soon, it is doubtful if all these anti-BJP parties will be able to forget their differences to fight against the team Modi together in the 2019 general elections.
While Kumaraswamy is sobbing his heart out in public, the 6.5 crore people of Karnataka are wondering who would wipe their tears.