BENGALURU: The row over nominations to the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) intensified on Friday with both the Chief Minister and the BJP trying to outdo each other to convince the Governor to accept their points of view.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah sprang a surprise on the BJP delegation as he managed to reach the Raj Bhavan a few minutes ahead and present his case to Vajubhai Vala, who returned to Bengaluru from Gujarat on Friday.
Though it is customary for the Chief Minister to call on the Governor to greet him on New Year, the meeting lasted well over 25 minutes, forcing the BJP delegation, which had a 4.30 pm appointment with the Governor, to wait.
The Chief Minister avoided the waiting reporters at the entrance to Raj Bhavan. Siddaramaiah is said to have presented an explanation about the nomination of former Congress MLC V R Sudarshan for the post of KPSC chairman by stating that Sudarshan had quit the primary membership of the Congress well before his name was recommended for the post. Siddaramaiah also tried to rebut the BJP’s charges against some of the names recommended for appointment as members of KPSC.
The BJP, which met the Governor after the CM left, upped the ante against the Siddaramaiah government over the nominations to KPSC chairman and members posts ahead of party national president Amit Shah’s visit to the city.
The delegation of BJP leaders led by state president Prahlad Joshi and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa submitted a memorandum to the Governor urging him to reject the name of Sudarshan recommended for the chairman’s post and also the names of Syed Ulfat Hussain, Dr Ravikumar, Prof Govindaiah, Raghunandan Ramanna for appointment as KPSC members.
The six-page memorandum extensively cites the Supreme Court order in the case of Punjab versus Salil Sabhlok and others case related to the issue of appointment made to the post of chairman of Punjab Public Service Commission, in which a former MLA of the ruling party was to be appointed as the chairman.
The SC order says that persons of high integrity, competence, independence, fairness and maturity should be appointed to these constitutional bodies. The appointments must infuse public confidence and the institution should not become the victim of spoils of the system. “All relevant material concerning the suitability of the candidate has to be looked into. A thorough enquiry and scrutiny of antecedents, integrity and merits is mandatory in such appointments with absolute transparency,” the SC order has said.
Joshi told reporters after submitting the memorandum that the Sidaramaiah government was trying to provide jobs for jobless Congress leaders in KPSC totally ignoring the SC order.
The state government’s efforts to make Sudarshan the chairman not only violated SC order, but also breaks the CM’s promise to implement the PC Hota Committee report on reforms in KPSC, Joshi said.
On the previous BJP government appointing its own party functionaries to KPSC, Joshi said there was no such explicit court order then on the issue. “There is no such grey area now on the issue after the SC order. Apart from this the CM had also promised reforms in KPSC in accordance with Hota Committee report, which he has ignored now,” he said.
Joshi said that the Governor gave a patient hearing for the BJP delegation, which explained why the names of Sudarshan, Hussain, Dr Ravikumar, Govindaiah and Ragunandan Ramanna should be rejected.
Joshi claimed that the Governor has assured he would seek legal experts’ opinion on the issue and take an appropriate decision within the next few days.