With one chief advisor, one authorized advisor, one media advisor and two political secretaries — and all with Cupboard rank — it appears Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has made a number of appointments to maintain up political and private commitments.
The appointments of the political secretaries and advisors is not going to solely price the state exchequer, however can also be more likely to face authorized hurdles if priority is to go by, provided that the constitutional validity of such appointments have been questioned in courts.
Regardless of having the full-fledged 34-member Cupboard, the federal government has appointed 5 others, together with two members of the Karnataka Legislative Council and a member of the Legislative Meeting, because the political secretaries and authorized advisor, respectively, within the rank of a Cupboard minister.
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All of Siddaramaiah’s males
Congress MLCs Naseer Ahmed and Ok Govindaraj — each thought-about shut aides of Siddaramaiah — have been appointed as political secretaries to the chief minister.
Since Siddaramaiah couldn’t accommodate them within the Cupboard, the submit of political secretary with Cupboard rank has been given to the 2, as per these near Siddaramaiah. Their appointment is the results of Siddaramaiah’s private dedication to his loyalists, sources instructed South First.
— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) June 2, 2023
Congress Virajpet MLA A S Ponnanna, who’s a former extra advocate-general, has been appointed as authorized advisor to the chief minister. Ponnanna, who headed the Karnataka Congress’ Authorized Cell, is a first-time MLA and couldn’t be accommodated within the Cupboard.
KV Prabhakar, who has been Siddaramaiah’s shadow for years now, has been appointed because the media advisor to the chief minister.
Prabhakar was Siddaramaiah’s media coordinator throughout his earlier stint as chief minister as nicely. Prabhakar’s appointment is seen as a reward for his dedication to Siddaramaiah even when he was out of energy.
Essentially the most fascinating appointment has been that of Congress’ ballot strategist Sunil Kanugolu who’s now the chief advisor to the chief minister.
In contrast to the opposite 4 appointees, Sunil Kanugolu is neither a legislator nor a loyalist of Siddaramaiah. His appointment is alleged to be a directive from the central management of the Congress, insist Siddaramaiah’s aides.
Kanugolu’s appointment has left many Siddaramaiah loyalists fuming. Retaining the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in thoughts, the social gathering is banking on Kanugolu’s skilled help for suggestions from the bottom, perception-management, narrative-building and impact-assessment of presidency’s coverage choices real-time.
Very like throughout the Meeting election marketing campaign, the thought, social gathering sources mentioned, was to consistently assess affect and want for course correction on all authorities choices.
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34 Cupboard ministers after which some
All of the above talked about 5 appointees, due to their Cupboard rank, are entitled to the identical perks, together with wages, reimbursements, and employees, as that of a Cupboard minister.
The earlier BJP authorities had revised the wage of the Cupboard ministers, MLAs and MLCs.
A Cupboard minister will draw a minimum of ₹3,22,500 per 30 days as a wage. This additionally contains month-to-month residence lease allowance of ₹1.20 lakh, day by day tour allowance of ₹2,500 and supplementary allowance of ₹37,500 per 30 days.
Aside from the wages, every will likely be supplied a separate employees, official automobile with driver, workplace at Vidhana Soudha, and different perks, all at a value to the exchequer.
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Earlier cases of authorized hurdles
There are a lot of cases up to now, the place a petitions have been filed in opposition to the state authorities for such political appointments within the Karnataka Excessive Court docket.
The latest one was a PIL filed by Samaj Parivarthana Samuday founder president SR Hiremath in opposition to the Basavaraj Bommai authorities for the appointment of then MLAs MP Renukacharya and DN Jeevaraj as political secretaries, and Beluru Sudarshan and Kedarnat Mudda as political advisors.
“These political appointments are unconstitutional for the reason that state can’t create hybrid constitutional posts to beat the constitutional mandate below Article 164(1A) of the Structure”, the petitioner mentioned, based on a information report by The Occasions of India.
The Article 164(1A) states the overall variety of ministers, together with the chief minister, can’t exceed 15 p.c of the overall members of the Legislative Meeting of a state. Because the Karnataka Meeting is a 224-member home, therefore, a most of 34 ministers may be within the Cupboard.
The petitioner additional mentioned: “There’s neither responsibility nor duty connected to those posts. These appointments have prompted injury to the general public exchequer.”
Based mostly on this petition, the Karnataka Excessive Court docket had served discover to the Bommai authorities. Nevertheless, the state authorities reportedly didn’t responded to the excessive court docket discover.
In one other such occasion, primarily based on a PIL filed by Bengaluru-based advocate S Umapathi difficult the appointment of NR Santosh as political secretary to chief minister BS Yediyurappa, the Karnataka Excessive Court docket had issued a discover to the federal government.
Nevertheless, the case couldn’t proceed as NR Santosh resigned for his place as political secretary.
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No sanctity left within the Cupboard: Former bureaucrat
Describing the political appointments as unconstitutional, retired IAS officer SM Jamdar instructed South First: “No sanctity is left within the Cupboard.”
“These political advisors, secretaries and authorized advisors with Cupboard rank is not going to have any energy however they’ll take pleasure in the identical perks that of a Cupboard minister,” he famous.
“They may get the identical wages as that of a minister, separate workplace, and employees. These appointments are unconstitutional and also will price the state exchequer. That is simply political administration by the ruling social gathering to cool-off dissent among the many MLAs.”
“This apply was first began by the Congress. Former chief minister Devaraj Urs had a minimum of six political secretaries. There are a lot of examples the place the previous chief ministers appointing political secretaries and advisors, flouting the norms,” elaborated Jamadar.
He additional mentioned: “This will likely be a burden on the exchequer as a result of the state authorities is grappling to make ends meet to implement all of the 5 ballot ensures. These ensures will price closely to the exchequer.”
“The federal government may have prevented these pointless political appointments, which burden the treasury,” opined Jamadar.
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The federal government has additionally made a minimum of 9 extra appointments to the CMO. Of those, one is an IAS officer, three are KAS officers, and two are politicians.
Division of Well being and Household Welfare Extra Chief Secretary Ok Chiranjeevi has been appointed as Officer on Particular on-duty (OSD) to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
KAS officers Dr Venkateshaiah, B Shivaswamy, Dr Ok Vaishanavi have been appointed as the private secretary, joint-secretary, and particular responsibility officer to the chief minister, respectively.
M Venkatesh and KN Vijay have additionally been appointed as particular officers for the chief minister on contract foundation.
Former IAS officer PA Gopal has been named as joint secretary to the Chief Minister Aid Fund on contract foundation.