BENGALURU: The Akhil Bharat Lingayat Mahasabha, the representative body of Lingayat community which has the highest population in the state, has come in the open demanding that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah appoint senior IAS officer V Umesh, a Lingayat, as Chief Secretary.
In a letter to Siddaramaiah and KPCC president G Parameshwara, N Thippanna, vice-president of the Mahasabha and president of the state unit, accused the state government of overlooking the seniority and eligibility of the officer.
“Umesh meets the eligibility criteria to become chief secretary. Moreover, he is a Kannadiga. But the Siddaramaiah government is looking for someone who is a non-Kannadiga for the post. This has forced us to assume that the state government is neglecting the interests of the community,” he said.
The incumbent C S Kaushik Mukherjee will retire on December 31 and names of senior IAS officers Ratna Prabha and S K Pattanayak are doing the rounds for the post. Umesh is also set for retirement in June.
“If Umesh is not appointed as CS, no Kannadiga will occupy this top executive post for the next 15-20 years. Siddaramaiah should remember that he was the one who, being the chairman of Kannada Kavalu Samithi in the past, had recommended that Kannadiga officers should be given prominence in the appointments for top posts,” Thippana said in the letter written on December 19.
Further, he said, not only in Umesh’s case, the Congress government had been neglecting the community in other political appointments and not involving it in the decision making, despite the community sending more number of MLAs to the Assembly from the Congress.
For example, none of the 11 Parliamentary Secretaries appointed recently by the CM was from the community. Upa Lokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi, who is a Lingayat, is being targeted and efforts are being made to remove him from the post though there is no sufficient evidence against him. Similarly, the killers of writer M M Kalaburgi have not been arrested yet, he said.