BENGALURU: Brushing aside demands for ministerial berths and lobbying for more coveted offices of profit, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has issued orders for the appointment of heads for 91 boards and corporations, of which 21 have been offered to MLAs and 70 to Congress party workers. A second list of appointees for five or six more bodies is expected in the next few days.
Among the legislators who have been rewarded with plum posts, Periyapatna MLA K Venkatesh has been appointed as BDA Chairman, Chikpet MLA R V Devaraj is the new Chairman of Karnataka Slum Development Board and Afzalpur MLA Malikaiah Guttedar is chairman of Karnataka Housing Board.
Though the appointments were finalised a few days ago, the announcement was delayed due to the reluctance of some MLAs to accept the posts as they wanted a ministerial berth considering their seniority and experience as legislators. Many MLAs wanted changes in the list seeking more plum postings with BDA, KSRTC, KHB and MSIL among the most sought after government bodies to head.
The process was also delayed due to AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s stand of giving these posts only to party workers as part of the plans to reward those who have worked hard to build the party and spur them to work vigorously to ensure victory for Congress in 2018 Assembly election.
However, Siddaramaiah succeeded in convincing Rahul to dole out at least 20 of these posts to disgruntled MLAs, sulking after being denied ministerial berths. MLAs need to be considered for these posts to douse the sparks of dissidence and prepare for the poll battles ahead, Siddaramaiah argued.
The appointments will add to the burden on the public exchequer as these heads of boards and corporations will enjoy minister of state rank with associated salary and perks. Each of these heads will cost about `2 lakh per month, which includes monthly salary of `40,000, sumptuary allowance of `3 lakh (per annum), monthly house rent allowance of `80,000, bungalow maintenance allowance of `20,000, and petrol quota of 1,000 litres a month.
In all, 91 heads of boards and corporations will mean spending of `1.82 crore of the tax payers’ money every month at a time when Karnataka is reeling under drought for the third consecutive year.