It almost hurts to say anything half decent about this State's CM - and yet I must. Especially so as I set out for Odisha and contemplate the situations there.
I am headed to the POSCO site in Odisha. Over the last six years, the inhabitants of a few villages there have challenged the might of a State which has used all its means to brutally evict villagers from their lands. The police batallions have shot and - killed, maimed, injured; ruthlessly lathi-charged unarmed citizens; and felled trees of forests integral to their livelihoods. And all this so that the State may hand over these lands to POSCO - a Korean company that wants to put up a giant steel plant here.
It is a battle between the Davids and Goliaths of the modern world - of small people and their ordinary lives disrupted by the mighty nexus of corporate greed and corrupt state which will stop at nothing to 'develop' this nation.
Now all have taken to battleground - men and women, young children and infirm old. They sit face to face with police platoons, protecting their lands, lives, and right to their own destiny from monsters of others' greeds.
As I head out to Odisha tomorrow, I wonder if Navin Patnaik realises the gravity of his actions? Of the suffering he inflicts on his people? Can wrong means ever justify any end? even an arguably right one? Whose interests are our leaders elected to safeguard? Ours or Theirs?
Then it occurs to me that the recent statements by BS Yeddyurappa on 'no forceful evictions' are highly unusual, unexpected and hopeful for a new trend in the relation of a State with its people. That BSY has backed out of having a POSCO plant come up in Mundargi taluk, Karnataka - where substantial numbers of farmers are unwilling to relinquish their lands - bodes well even for the nature of our development.
It really does not matter whether God, Seer, strategy or good sense lead him to these pronouncements. That he did it is enough - for now.