Congress in Karnataka set to finalise list of appointees to key positions boards and corporations

The Karnataka government is yet to appoint heads of the various boards and corporations despite being in power for more than seven months,

BySouth First Desk

Published Dec 18, 2023 | 2:46 PMUpdatedDec 18, 2023 | 3:15 PM

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with Dy CM DK Shivakumar

The ruling Congress in Karnataka is likely to finalise the list of party legislators and workers to be appointed to key positions in various state-run boards and corporations, during the visit of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar to New Delhi.

Shivakumar, who is also the state Congress president, said a list has already been sent to the Congress high command for its approval.

“We will finalise it and come, we have already sent the list and proposal, as there were elections (in five states) and as there was an Assembly (session) there was a delay. The chief minister and I are going,” he told reporters in Bengaluru ahead of leaving for the national capital on Monday, 18 December.

Over seven months after coming to power, the Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government is yet to appoint heads of the various boards and corporations. The Karnataka Congress is also yet to choose working presidents after incumbents have been accommodated as ministers in the Cabinet.

In November, Siddaramaiah said the list had been sent to the party high command. Once it is approved, the selected legislators will be appointed first, followed by party workers.

Related: Ruling Congress readies list for key appointments, amid brewing discontent

Differences in the party

The Congress prepared the list of party legislators and workers to be appointed to key positions in various state-run boards and corporations last month, in the presence of AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala. However, there seems to be some differences among leaders, with Home Minister G Parameshwara openly saying he was not consulted while preparing the list.

Parameshwara on 28 November indicated his reservation about the process.

Speaking to reporters, he said in response to a question: “No, I have not been consulted. If consulted, it would have been good. I was party president for eight years and could have given suggestions as to who would be politically beneficial in the current situation and also on seniority.”

“They (party leadership) too are aware of it, but if we were also consulted it would have been good. They may finally decide after taking the high command’s consent; let them do it,” he continued.

The minister also said he was not aware of when the list would be finalised.

Reacting to Parameshwara’s statement, Siddaramaiah said that no leader has been contacted, as the process is still at the “preliminary stage”.

“Not only Parameshwara, no one’s opinion has been taken yet. It (discussion) is still at the preliminary stage… The list has not yet been finalised, so for me to comment on it will not be right,” he said.

There has been some disgruntlement and growing impatience within a section of the Congress party, with legislators, who could not make it to the ministry and were keenly aspiring for the key posts in boards and corporations, unhappy about the delay in appointments.

Also, many party men are upset over the delay in rewarding loyal workers, noting that the Congress has been in power for more than six months now.

Also read: Congress eyes strategic reshuffle ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls

Difference of opinion

Shivakumar had recently said that both Congress legislators and party workers would be appointed to these positions and indicated that about 15 to 20 party MLAs and MLCs would be accommodated, and the rest would be distributed among loyal party workers.

Appointments to boards and corporations are said to be among the issues on which Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar had certain differences of opinion, according to party sources.

In October, on condition of anonymity, a senior Congress leader told South First: “These appointments will play a key role in cooling off dissent. The chief minister has already discussed this, but expressed honouring chairmanship of boards and corporations only to MLAs and MLCs.”

“The chief minister is planning to entrust the responsibility of boards and corporations to around 25-30 legislators instead of party workers. However, in exceptional cases, the party is likely to entrust a few boards and corporations to party workers,” he added.

“The leadership does not want to create a rift in the party while making these appointments. Hence, to avoid dissent and other issues, it has decided to give chairmanships of most of the boards and corporations to legislators,” he further stated.

Earlier, Surjewala had said, “The proposal envisions a strategic reshaping of the party cadre, recognising the dual roles held by many of our office-bearers who are MLAs or ministers. The proposal advocates relieving the current office-bearers of their organisational responsibilities.”

Fresh talent would replace them, Surjewala said, adding that the new faces would have the calibre to become future lawmakers.

“This strategic reallocation is envisioned to enhance efficiency within the party’s organisational framework, ensuring a seamless distribution of responsibilities. We are committed to fostering a rejuvenated and forward-looking party,” he said.

Related: Karnataka Congress begins Lok Sabha polls 2024 preparations 

Meeting PM and Union ministers

Responding to a question on the chief minister reportedly getting an appointment to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he merely said, “Okay, we will meet.”

According to the chief minister’s tour plan shared with the media, he will be meeting Union ministers there on Tuesday, 19 December, while his return journey has been kept open. There is no official word on his meeting with the prime minister yet.

In case Siddaramaiah meets the prime minister, he is likely to take up several key issues concerning the state including delay in the release of drought relief by the Union government, party sources said.

The deputy chief minister, who is travelling to Delhi ahead of the chief minister, will be meeting some Union ministers on Monday evening and also on Tuesday. His return journey, too, has been kept open.

(With PTI inputs)