Notes from the field:Politics & Media


Chief Minister of Karnataka B S Yedyurappa and Governor of Karnataka H R Bhardwaj at the KPSC premises for the diamond jubilee inauguration event of KPSC. Wednesday, 18th May 2011. - Nishant Ratnakar/DNA

Wednesday morning coverage of the Diamond Jubilee inauguration of Karnataka Public Service Commission(KPSC) could have been just another event if not for the events chief guests – Governor HR Bharadwaj, and Chief Minister B S Yedyurappa – the two people, at loggerheads in the current political drama in the state. Them sharing the same podium, was medias’ ‘orgasmic’ moment.

Shutterbugs in hordes along with cameramen and correspondents who either tugged at their notepads or microphones, waiting impatiently for the guests to arrive. Rumour had it that the Governor would submit his resignation at the end of the day. And  everyone there wanted a reaction from the Governor to end the speculation.

The CM presenting Governor with a bouquet, started the ‘show’ and the cameras didn’t stop clicking after that. Every movement was captured, to be dissected in the newsroom later. There seemed to be no tension between the two as they sat next to each other exchanging words. For the next one hour, all cameras were glued on to the podium observing the body language and every single move made by the state actors. Every time the two spoke or shook hands, the camera flashguns fired rapidly. And this would be repeated even every time one of them raised a finger to wipe the sweat of their eyebrow.

Then came the moment the Governor addressed the gathering. His excellency spoke of the importance of public service commission, the constitution and the judiciary in this democracy. Every statement he made was analysed by our conspiracy theorists to squeeze any remote reference to his rumoured resignation or even to alleged differences with the Chief Minister. But it were not to be so. And it was ‘game-set-match’ for conspiracy theories when the Governor praised the Chief Minister as a hard working man who puts in nearly 20 hours everyday to his work.

The event came to an end as the Chief Minister made way for the Governor to leave the podium. This was probably one of those rare moments when the Chief Minister got to his car without any camera following him. It was his quickest exit ever as the entire media fraternity had surrounded the Governor to prevent him from leaving the venue without giving a sound byte.

There was a media frenzy  as journalists, security personnel, police, and Governor’s staff jostled around pushing each other in the line of their ‘respective duties’. Tensions soared high as everyone kept screaming at each other and falling over. The Governor finally answered a ‘No’ to the question, putting an end to the rumour as he left the KPSC premises.

Before everyone could come to terms with what had happened, somebody had lost a camera cable, few correspondents discovered their footwear had gone missing, and police officers had lost their badges. This collective sense of loss had united the people who were fighting each other moments earlier.  And it further reached a happy ending when all agreed that ‘our system’ was good, as in a neighboring state no cameras would be allowed within fifty meters radius of the Governor.

The Ice-candy seller outside KPSC had a great day as TV news crew kept going back for more while they went live to update the country with the political drama unfolding in the state. Somebody suggested to him that he should shift to Raj Bhavan Road by evening as Chief Minister was scheduled to visit the Governor then. I don’t know if he followed the advice as I stayed away from the action for rest of the evening.

Nishant Ratnakar
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By Nishant Ratnakar

Nishant is a Bangalore, India based Wedding, Portrait & Editorial Photographer. He is available for assignments across India. He also conducts photography workshops and offers personal photography mentorship.

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