In the end, Mallya’s millions (and minions) may achieve little more than dividing the Opposition, which should greatly please the Congress chief minister, to whom he is related, in the assembly polls next year. Nevertheless, at 48, Mallya has shown he is a quick learner of the political patois. When a chopper carrying him crashlanded recently, Mallya got up and proclaimed himself the real son of the soil (as opposed to his—and S.M. Krishna’s—bete noire H.D. Deve Gowda) since Mother Earth had saved him that day. And, in his fractured Kannada, he reminds public meetings that he also supplies 80 per cent of the state’s fertilisers, and a whole load of India’s pharmaceuticals.
Will it work? Knows God. But to paraphrase the ‘Absolut’ ad, Mallya reaches parts other political leaders don’t, can’t. And, hey, aren’t his primary products in our—and our nation’s—bloodstream? United Breweries, ladies and gentlemen, was launched in 1857.