The new alliance partners in Karnataka are already grappling with the reality of running a coalition government. The transfer of babus has become a point of conflict between the Congress and the JD(S).
The H.D. Kumaraswamy-led government has effected several transfers in the recent past. This has not gone down too well with a section of Congress leaders, including Siddaramaiah, it is said, as the party was not consulted. For instance, the state government is learnt to have withdrawn its request to the Centre seeking an extension for chief secretary Ratna Prabha, whose tenure ended June 30. She was handpicked for the top post by the previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress regime.
Mr Kumaraswamy has also reworked the chief minister’s office (CMO) by transferring officials Mr Siddaramaiah had appointed during his tenure. Senior IAS officer L.K. Atheeq, who served as Mr Siddaramaiah’s principal secretary, was transferred without a new posting. Another senior IAS officer Tushar Girinath, who was also Mr Siddaramaiah’s principal secretary along with Mr Atheeq, has been moved out and posted as BWSSB chairman. Another IAS officer B.S. Shekharappa, who was additional secretary to the chief minister, has been transferred as well.
Mr Siddaramaiah, who heads the coalition coordination and monitoring committee, is said to be particularly upset over the transfer of Mr Shekharappa as director of the Command Area Development Authority. Mr Siddaramaiah is also angry that Mr Atheeq and Dayanand have not been given new postings. The question is how long will it take before the cracks appear?
A change of mind
Making a departure from its decision on the top position at Steel Authority of India (SAIL), the Centre has given the additional charge of chairman and managing director to Saraswati Prasad, a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre. Mr Prasad was special secretary and financial adviser, ministry of steel and replaced P.K. Singh who has retired.
While it sounds like a routine transfer, it needs to be remembered that initially the steel ministry had issued a notification assigning the additional charge of SAIL to Anil Kumar Chaudhary, currently director of finance at SAIL for a period of three months but within four days it changed its mind. Interestingly, the public sector head-hunter PESB too had recommended the name of Mr Chaudhary for the top post of state-run SAIL. It was expected that the appointments committee of the cabinet (ACC) would clear the appointment of Mr Chaudhary as SAIL CMD but the abrupt U-turn has set tongues buzzing.
Ex-babus behind evictions
Six former chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh were recently made to vacate their government bungalows by the Supreme Court. But few, beyond babu circles, know that the eviction campaign was led by an NGO called Lok Prahari, which has former IAS, IPS officers and judges, among its members. It is interesting to note that the campaign was started 14 years ago!
Sources say that Lok Prahari filed a petition for the first time in 2004 regarding government bungalows. This petition was against the rule of 1997, under which arrangements were made to provide government accommodation to former chief ministers. Lok Prahari president and retired IAS officer Nitin Majumdar says that it is not the only achievement of the organisation. Even before this verdict, Lok Prahari had contributed in making many major decisions happen. For example, in 2013, they had filed a petition after which RJD’s Lalu Prasad Yadav and three MPs were disqualified for being convicts, overturning a 62-year-old provision.