Karnataka election

As Janata Dal (S)’s Kumaraswamy makes bid to be Karnataka chief minister, rumblings in Gowda family

HD Deva Gowda was not happy with the Congress opening channels with both him and his son, party officials said.

Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) patriarch HD Deva Gowda on Tuesday accepted the Congress offer of unconditional support to his party to form the government in Karnataka after the Assembly election results threw up a hung verdict. But JD(S) officials say that Deva Gowda was not completely happy with the Congress opening dual channels and simultaneously reaching out to his son HD Kumaraswamy.

Senior party officials confirmed that Deva Gowda’s irritation with the Congress’s manner of functioning was prompted by rumblings in his family. They said that Kumaraswamy’s brother HD Revannna, spoke to his father on Tuesday and alleged that Kumaraswamy was trying to corner power. This would leave nothing for other members of the family, who had also put in a lot of effort during the Assembly election campaign, party officials said.

A former minister told Scroll.in that the disagreement in the Gowda family first cropped up in April as the party handed out tickets to its chosen candidates. “Revanna was keen on getting his son Prajwal a ticket. Kumaraswamy derailed that move,” the former minister said. The argument made was that each of the families in the clan should get only one ticket, he said.

However, Kumaraswamy contested from two constituencies. The understanding in the JD(S) was that if he won both, he would resign from one seat and give it to his wife. “Revanna feels if Kumaraswamy becomes chief minister, there is no stopping this move,” the leader added.

Reaching a compromise

With regard to Revanna’s son Prajwal, the family reached a compromise after Deva Gowda assured Revanna that his son would be given the Hasan parliamentary seat in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. This is the seat Deva Gowda currently represents.

Some in the JD (S) were also unhappy with the way Congress made its move on Tuesday without any regard for the internal equations of the JD(S). However, no one in the party anticipates any open revolt as the prospect of power is too attractive to give up. “It is Deva Gowda’s view that all this can be sorted out later,” an official said.

In the Congress, though, senior Karnataka leaders are angry that JD(S) was offered unconditional support. A minister told Scroll.in that this move was made entirely by old guard in the high command. “We do not even know if Rahul Gandhi was fully into this hasty move,” the leader said.

According to the leader, given the way the results emerged, the JD(S) had no option but to form an alliance with the Congress. “If they had gone with the BJP, there was no way they would have been treated as equal partners,” the leader said. “We should have at least made attempts to bargain for the chief minister’s post.”

While senior Congress leader DK Shivakumar was pushing for the deputy chief minister post, it became clear by Wednesday morning that it would be extremely difficult to convince both Deva Gowda and senior leaders in the Congress to accept Vokkaligas occupying the chairs of both the chief minister and the deputy chief minister. “There could be a revolt in the Congress if this happens,” the leader added.

The official said that the fact that the Congress gave up the advantage and let the JD(S) run the show could be a big factor in party MLAs trying to hop parties. “The high command has to answer the simple question of why Congress MLAs should work for a JD(S) chief minister,” the official said.

The consensus in the Congress is that the high command moved to swiftly to avoid a repeat of Goa and Manipur, where the BJP quickly clinched post-poll alliances and snatched power from the Congress.

Congress proposal

At the moment, the front runner for the deputy chief minister post is G Parameshwara, a Dalit and the president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. “If he is chosen, DK Shivakumar is likely to be made the state party president,” the leader said.

The Congress is also thinking about proposing the idea of two deputy chief ministers so that a Lingayat leader can be included. This is primarily being done to keep the Lingayat flock in the party intact, given the rumours that the Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to reach out to them.

Leaders in the BJP said BS Yeddyurappa, the party chief ministerial candidate, was of the view that a Congress-JD(S) alliance would not last long. “He is in no mood to allow any big concession to get the JD(S),” said a member of parliament close to Yeddyurappa. “He is very confident of getting the numbers if the Governor invites him to form the government.”

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

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This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.