In our political set up it has not been difficult to forge a strong nexus between ambitious business leaders and powerful politicians. In the south, Karnataka led the way for this: H D Deve Gowda, the humble farmer-Prime Minister, saw the advantage of rewarding prosperous business leaders with prized seats in the Rajya Sabha. In this, there was no bias towards the home state: remember his largesse in rewarding one such to M A M Ramaswamy, who was more interested in horse racing than in parliament? His attendance in Parliament was six per cent.
Another precious benefactor of JD (S) is Vijay Mallya. This colourful personality has such wide interests ranging from Formula 1 car races to hosting lavish birthday parties with attractive damsels in expensive yachts and beaches in Goa. One, however, hardly noticed him in the Parliament.
I should add that such patronage has been extended by several parties: BJP’s B S Yeddyurappa’s largesse to the mining barons, the Reddy brothers, brought his downfall and also his party.