Is a newspaper more powerful than a minister?

MATHIHALLI MADAN MOHAN asks from Hubli: Is a media house more powerful than a minister in the State government of Karnataka? Seemingly so, going by what happened in Hubli in two recent instances last week.

A couple of days ago, Samyukta Karnataka, the flagship Kannada newspaper from the Loka Shikshana Trust, Hubli, had organised the platinum jubilee, the invitees to which looked virtually like a political Who’s Who of the State.

Arch political rivals momentarily sunk their differences, stood shoulder to shoulder to the pop of the camera flashes, and happily participated in the celebrations of the paper, which enjoys lot of credibility in Northern Karnataka even today.

There was the Janata Dal (S) patriarch, H.D. Deve Gowda with his son Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, along with couple of ministers belonging to the party. The BJP contingent was led by deputy chief minister, B.S. Yediyurappa, the state party president D.V. Sadananda Gowda, and a couple of party ministers.

The entire Congress was in attendance, from Dharam Singh to Mallikarjun Kharge to H K Patil, down to the last minion whose name had been mentioned in the invitation.

The attendance at the Samyukta Karnataka fete was to full to the extent that if the government wanted it, it could have organised an all-party meet on any of the ticklish issue, or could have gone in for the meeting of the coordination committee of the coalition.

In sharp contrast was the occasion of the wedding of the son  of Basavaraj Horatti, the minister for primary and secondary education, whose ability to put both his feet in the mouth has landed him in controversy after controversy, on April 29.

Kumaraswamy was there but Deve Gowda was not, despite the fact that Horatti, by default, has been the tallest of the JD(S) leaders from the Bombay-Karnataka area. Yediyurappa and a couple of ministers popped in, but the party president was conspicuous by his absence.

The Congress almost completely ignored the minister’s function. Only H.K. Patil was present, and probably because he hails from the same area and shares the common electorate with Horatti for their continued presence in Karnataka Legislative Council.

Neither Dharam Singh nor Kharge turned up. Although, of course, the entire paraphernalia of the Department of Primary and Secondary Education, which is headed by Horatti, was at the beck and call to keep their boss in good humour.

Still, the divergent demographics of the two functions left the question hanging: is a media house more powerful than a politician?

Cross-posted on churumuri

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