BENGALURU: The Government of Karnataka and its babus went into overdrive the night before dates of Assembly elections in the state were announced on Tuesday, working as they did well into it.
After Election Commission of India extended an invitation for a media briefing at its New Delhi office, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, ministers who “mattered”, and the government machinery worked extra hours to “clear a few administrative and important files” pertaining to a number of development works in the poll-bound state, according to sources.
“Babus, who usually work only between 10 am and 5 pm stretched the day to clear plenty of files as they cannot do that after the calendar of events relating to the upcoming elections is given to them,” a source told The New Indian Express, going on to add, “This is because the code of conduct will then come into effect.”Despite the overworking, all could not be accomplished. The Chief Minister’s Office put on hold its transfer list. Though it was cleared the following day, the execution itself was not possible, so had to be stalled.
So was it with some other development programmes scheduled to be launched on March 26 and 30 during Siddaramaiah’s visit to Chamundeshwari constituency, where he also wanted to give away five guntas of land to 245 Dalit families of Ashokpuram in Mysuru.Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy highlighted the number of “important” files Siddaramaiah cleared “in a hurry” to accuse the government of “corruption”. He warned babus not to follow the CM’s orders as “they would get into trouble”. “I get updates of the chief minister’s actions and his file clearances every minute,” he claimed.
The BJP General Secretary Shobha Karandlaje also levied similar charges against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, saying he cleared many sensitive files in a hurry in the past two days to beat the poll code of conduct. Shobha demanded that Election Commission nullify all contracts awarded in the last 15 days but probe all files cleared in the last two days.
The CMO, though, denied the allegations and maintained that it only completed “routine exercises” on the day and too much was being read into the day’s normal work.“The cabinet did meet, during which it held general discussions and worked out a strategy to take on the BJP aggressively by dousing its negative propaganda of the Congress,” a senior minister clarified. “Major matters including including the Veerashaiva-Lingayat issue and Kannada Flag were cleared in the previous cabinet,” he added.
Hectic political activity
With Election Commission announcing the poll dates, activities in the three major political parties of Karnataka gained momentum on Tuesday. Congress leaders including some ministers held an informal discussion in anticipation of the first list of candidates being announced on April2. The BJP also held a meeting to finalise its nitty-gritty of the poll campaign. The focus of the meet, though, was BJP National President Amit Shah’s tour of central Karnataka. The JD(S) President H D Kumaraswamy held a Kumaraparva rally along with BSP workers in K R constituency in Mysuru. He said the party would announce its “second and final list” of candidates within a week. The party will hold an election committee meeting soon