Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan has cleared the appointment of four Congress workers as state information commissioners today ignoring widespread pleas against the move.
Earlier, the governor had rejected the appointment of these four candidates as information commissioners exactly a year ago, but has given in, after a fresh recommendation by the state government.
The governor approved the names of Lam Tantiya Kumari, M Vijaya Nirmala, V Venkateswarlu and Imtiaz Ahmed, all affiliated to the Congress, based on the recommendation of a selection committee headed by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy.
Sources said that the selection committee sent the file for the governor's approval once again, after meeting here secretly on February 1 to choose the four candidates.
Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), who was informed about the crucial meeting only 24 hours in advance, could not attend, as he was away in the Krishna district on his foot march, sources said.
In Naidu's absence, the chief minister and his deputy Damodar Rajanarasimha cleared the controversial names.
Last year, Naidu had opposed the appointment of the four Congress workers after protests from various quarters.
The governor consulted state Advocate General Sudarshan Reddy on the issue a couple of days ago before approving the appointments of the information commissioners.
A formal order appointing the four as information commissioners will be issued shortly, official sources said.
After their appointment, the State Information Commission will now have nine members, including the Chief Information Commissioner.
Of the nine information commissioners, four are retired bureaucrats, four are politicians and the other is a journalist.
It is learnt that the state government obtained sworn affidavits from the four candidates stating that they would not take part in any political activity in future.
Based on this, the selection committee chose them as information commissioners, government sources said.