BENGALURU: The government issued an order extending the tenure of Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission Chairman Jayaprakash Hegde and five other members for another month from February 1 to February 29. The decision has been taken following Hegde’s request as the commission was vetting the controversial socio-economic caste survey report to be presented to the government, sources said.
Hegde’s tenure had come to an end in November and the Congress government, led by Siddaramaiah, had extended it up to to January 1. Siddaramaiah had said the government will accept the report, but it was opposed by Veerashaiva Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities.
On January 28, Siddaramaiah at the ‘Shoshitara Samavesha’ held in Chitradurga had reiterated that the government will accept the report. JDS state president HD Kumaraswamy had challenged the government to accept the report.
Now, it is to be seen whether the government will accept the report before February 29 when Hegde’s extended term ends. “Even if the government accepts the report, it may not table at the legislature or release it in public domain as it may boomerang on Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections,” an analyst said.
Hegde too expressed confidence that he will present the report to the government. “We have analysed the survey report and will give it final touches before sending it to final print,” he said.
“We have extended the commission’s tenure based on Hegde’s request. Shouldn’t a commission chairman be given time as he has sought,” Backward Classes Department Minister Shivaraj Tangadagi said. “Let the commission submit the report first, then Siddaramaiah will decide whether to table it in the legislature, “ he added.
The Siddaramaiah government in its first tenure had initiated the survey, while then commission chairman Kantharaju completed the process in 2018. But he could not submit it to the government as the member secretary of the commission did not sign it.
The present government has also deferred accepting the report as certain original worksheets have reportedly gone missing.