Former Karnataka Minister and Congress leader DK Shivakumar’s detractors will insist that he was shedding crocodile tears and that he deserves to be arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The knives are out as those that were subdued or coerced by him in various situations mockingly quote his own lines back to him: ‘Uppu thinda mele neeru kudibeku,’ a well-known Kannada saying that literally translates to, if you eat salt, you will have to drink water. In this context, it means, you get what you deserve.
But DK Shivakumar’s legion of fans, followers and staunch supporters are shell-shocked. Not by the arrest, which they, along with all political watchers and the man himself, have been expecting for nearly six months now. They are stunned that the man called ‘Sathnur Huli’, (the tiger of Sathnur, which is his old Assembly constituency) who epitomizes the swaggering machismo of southern Karnataka Vokkaligas actually cried on camera. This because he could not conduct rituals on Ganesha Chaturthi to pay homage to his late father due to the ED’s summons.
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The Vokkaliga community as well as the citizens of Karnataka have frequently seen tears from former Prime Minister HD and JD(S) supremo Deve Gowda, until recently the tallest leader of their community and region. Gowda’s son, former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy is also known to be rather emotional in public. But Shivakumar, who was their archrival until the JD(S) and Congress joined hands in 2018, has always met adversity with a smile and nonchalance.