By P.T. Bopanna
Ajjikuttira Kariappa Subbaiah started off his political career as a firebrand politician, but now he has become a political untouchable whom no party wants to touch with a barge pole.
In frustration, Subbaiah, AKS to his small group of admirers, keeps making sensational statements to draw attention. Some say that he gets sadistic pleasure in hurting people’s sentiments.
One such statement was his recent utterance that Kodava Samajas have become the ‘branch offices of the BJP’, because they had opposed the celebration of the forthcoming Tipu Sultan celebration being organized by the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka.
By terming those opposing the Tipu event as sympathisers of the saffron brigade, Subbaiah, a Kodava himself, has earned the wrath of the Kodava community who have charged him with vitiating communal harmony in Kodagu by making irresponsible statements.
There are others who claim that Subbaiah is batting for Siddaramaiah because Subbaiah’s son A.S. Ponnanna, an advocate, has been appointed additional advocate general of Karnataka, a political appointment made by the Siddaramaiah government.
Subbaiah started off as a promising politician who won the plaudits of people for fighting corruption. As head of Karnataka BJP unit, he exposed corruption in the then Congress government headed by R. Gundu Rao, who was also from Kodagu. Among them was the ‘Rolex scandal’ involving the then minister C.M. Ibrahim.
Subbaiah’s finest hour was when the BJP won more than a dozen seats in the 1983 assembly elections under his leadership. But success went to his head and he began showing his dictatorial streak. The wily Ramakrishna Hegde who formed the Janata Party government with support from the BJP, marginalized Subbaiah and pitted him against actor Raj Kumar.
In no time, Subbaiah was eased out the BJP and he started the Kannada Nadu party, which was a flop show. From then onwards, it has been a political downhill for the maverick politician.
In between he started his law practice and took up public causes, including the famous Jamma land case (a land tenure peculiar to Kodagu). Though he lost the case, Subbaiah went around in Kodagu saying that he had won the case and got himself felicitated!
He also took up the case of a few people in Kodagu hoisting Pakistani flag. From then onwards Subbaiah has become an unpopular person in the Kodava community.
In frustration, Subbaiah keeps making derogatory comments against members and association of the Kodava community.
Over the years, Subbaiah has become a tool in the hands of vested interests who want to divide and spread disharmony in Kodagu.
It is sad to note that one of the most promising politicians from Kodagu has ended up as the most hated person in the district.
This writer was also one of the admirers of Subbaiah for his crusade against corruption. But Subbaiah has reached a stage in his life, where retirement from public life is the only solution left for him in the evening of his life.