Mangalore: Four Months On, Districts Still Orphaned Without In-charge Ministers
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore
Mangalore, Jun 23: The internal bickering and self-centered disdainful politics of the ruling BJP in Karnataka has inflicted a body blow to normal governance in the state. But Udupi and Mangalore/Kodagu districts are highly affected and are bearing the brunt of this internal strife and dirty politics played by BJP members as development process in these districts is completely stalled. In the absence of district-in-charge ministers in the last four months various developmental activities in these districts have almost come to a standstill and the district administration of these districts are working without lack of purpose, are confused and rudderless.
It may be recalled that for Krishna Palemar who was the district-in-charge minister of Dakshina Kannada, the controversy surrounding watching of pornographic clipping in his mobile inside the state assembly in February proved to be his Watergate. The untimely death of Udupi District-in-charge Minister Dr V S Acharya in February this year, left a vacuum in Udupi District.
As a result of this the tri-monthly Karnataka Development Programme (KDP) meetings which are usually presided over by district-in-charge ministers are not held in both these districts since then. Though the ZP President presides over the monthly meetings to review the progress achieved of various KDP programmes, are held as usual, the tri-monthly meetings of KDP under the leadership of district-in-charge ministers are crucial as the said minister is able to provide proper guidance and orientation to the district administration and other departments involved in the development of the district. In the tri-monthly meetings the Minister used to evaluate the progress achieved by the district in the last three months and take steps to set right any lacunae in the progress pertaining to implementation of various developmental activities. Having chaired this meeting the district-in-charge minister used to brief the Chief Minister about the shortcomings which used to help set right any pitfall or shortcomings.
Now all this is on the back burner as petty politics and self-centered aspirations of BJP MLA’s have thwarted all hopes of finding a quick solution to the problem. Chief Minister whose hot seat has always been shaky ever since he assumed the charge as Chief Minister as he is saddled with a plethora of problems apart from efforts to unseat him from the hot seat by his detractors. Hence, he is unable to have a cabinet expansion which would have enabled him to appoint other MLA’s to the one vacated by Palemar and the one caused by the death of Dr V S Acharya.
Lalaji Mendon, MLA from Kaup when contacted said that the Chief Minister, who incidentally hails from Daksihna Kannada district, is seized of the matter. However, he said that though both these districts don’t have district-in-charge ministers there has been no tardiness in the implementation of developmental programmes in the state. “The Chief Minister is aware of the situation but not having a district-in-charge minister has no way hampered any developmental activity. In the absence of the minister, we the elected representatives have taken the responsibility of interacting with the district administration to ensure smooth implementation of various schemes and programmes”, he declared.
Udupi MLA Raghupathi Bhat, however candidly admitted that not having a district-in-charge minister has hampered the growth chart of both these districts. He also said that the long-awaited cabinet expansion is scheduled by the end of this month, the Presidential elections notwithstanding. “The petty and selfish politics of our own people have greatly affected our developmental activities. The Chief Minister is aware of the problem but is helpless as the inner-party bickering is at its summit giving no chance for the Chief Minister to take any major decision”, he stated. Rathupathi Bhat also said that a 7 member delegation (including him) had met BJP President Nitin Gadkhari this week (Wednesday) in Nagpur (with a memorandum signed by 76 MLAs) to apprise him on the need of cabinet expansion. He said the Party President has promised them that things will be alright by the month end and Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda will be able to go for the much awaited cabinet expansion at the earliest.
Raghupathi Bhat also said that in the absence of district-in-charge ministers the MLA’s of the district have taken up the mantle of giving a proper bearing to the path of development in Dakshina Kannada. “We have not allowed the absence of the district-in-charge minister to affect our progress, though a minister would have been able to give a better direction to all those involved in such activities”, Raghupathi Bhat opined. On asked who is going to be the lucky one among them to get a ministerial berth Raghupathi Bhat stated that all the party MLA’s are in favour of Kundapur MLA Halady Srinivas Shetty, the senior most from among, them to be the district-in-charge minister of Udupi.
However, in Dakshina Kannada who is going to be the district-in-charge minister in the event of the Chief Minister expanding his cabinet, is not clear yet. MLA Yogish Bhat, who is also the Dy Speaker in the State Assembly is tight-lipped about the entire episode except saying that the Chief Minister is aware of the situation and would go for the cabinet expansion very soon. There are rumours that Palemar might be reinstated as he has been absolved of the charges by committee headed by Srishailappa Bidarur.
Time is running out for the BJP as only a year is left for the assembly elections in the state. If the Chief Minister is unable to expand his cabinet and fails to appoint district-in-charge ministers as a result, it is going to prove costly for the BJP and the sitting MLA’s will have a tough time in defending their constituencies in the next elections.
It only remains to be seen whether the beleaguered Chief Minister will be allowed to expand his cabinet by the ‘enemy within’. If he succeeds, as Raghupathi Bhat makes us believe, it will be a good news for both Udupi and Dakshina Kannada/Kodagu districts as it would give fillip to developmental activities in these districts.