A drunk tank is a jail cell or separate facility accommodating people who are intoxicated with alcohol. Some such facilities are mobile, may be spoken of as "booze buses". Traditionally, in some jurisdictions the circumstances of drunk tank occupants may vary as to whether in fact intoxicated, whether willingly there, whether isolated to protect them from others, confined to protect others from them, or permitted to find shelter, whether under arrest, charged with an offense, or neither; those in need of more long-term treatment may be referred to a rehabilitation center. In some countries of Europe , such modern institutions are known by names that may be translated as "sobering-up station" or similar.

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This man was a lanky rabble-rouser, and was frequently accused of instigating mobs. When Naik enquired after him, he came to know that the man was an activist of the Hindu Jagaran Vedike — a youth organisation of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad — from Sirsi, kilometres northeast of Bhatkal. Once, he and two others breached the security cordon and hoisted the Tricolour at the disputed Idgah Maidan in the communally charged Hubli.

Later that year — this was — the Congress lost several Assembly seats in the coastal region to the BJP, and Chittaranjan won from Bhatkal with a huge margin.

He was then 28 years old. Naik recalls how a fortnight before the polls, Chittaranjan was shot dead. Even the CBI has failed to trace the killers. Two decades later, Anant Hegde is the Union minister of state for skill development and entrepreneurship. He has several cases of rioting and inciting violence against his name and he is also in the news from time to time for his rabid anti-minority statements.

The latter list runs long. The way things are now, Anant Hegde is known to challenge journalists to quote him verbatim on his anti-Muslim views. He is more rabid than his public persona. Track record notwithstanding, Anant Hegde was included in the council of ministers in September in a clear signal to the electorate that the BJP liked him the way he was.

Of course, there is the fact that he had won five of the last six Lok Sabha elections he had contested and his admirers say he is popular for standing up for the Hindus. Says N. He has not changed even after becoming a big leader. He speaks his mind and he is not scared of anybody. He has been successful in that. According to Nagendra Naik, the BJP has adopted a fairly clear-cut strategy in coastal Karnataka — rather than pander to caste equations, go for a full-blown Hindutva agenda riding on the shoulders of people like Anant Hegde.

Many in the constituency agree that this stance has proved to be more successful than any ideology peddled by the opposition parties. Some, of course, remain critical, arguing that Anant Hegde has hardly any achievement worth the boast in terms of developmental work. But Anant Hegde is a taekwondo pro, a sport known for its various stances, and for now he seems more than happy playing the dogged communal stance. And from the looks of it, he is not faring too badly for it.

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