Bengaluru: When Siddaramaiah appointed political strategist and Congress member Sunil Kanugolu his ‘chief adviser’, the 76-year-old Karnataka chief minister might have been diverting from norm by making a place unknown to his predecessors, in keeping with some political observers. Kanugolu, together with 4 others, was additionally accorded cupboard rank standing, which comes with its personal perks.
“There isn’t any provision within the Structure nor are there any restrictions to do the identical,” a senior Karnataka Congress chief instructed ThePrint on situation of anonymity.
Since he assumed workplace final month, following Congress’s decisive victory within the Could meeting elections in Karnataka, Siddaramaiah has accorded cupboard rank standing to 5 people who find themselves not a part of the state council of ministers. This consists of the appointments of Naseer Ahmed and Ok. Govindaraj — each members of the Legislative Council — as political secretaries with cupboard ranks, and that of his longtime aide Ok.V. Prabhakar as media adviser.
Along with Kanugolu’s appointment as ‘chief adviser’, Siddaramaiah additionally appointed A.S. Ponnanna, first-time MLA from Virajpet, as his ‘authorized adviser’.
These cupboard appointments are above and past the 34 as a part of the Council of Ministers — together with these of Siddaramaiah himself and Deputy CM D.Ok. Shivakumar.
In February final yr, a public curiosity litigation (PIL) filed by activist S.R. Hiremath questioning the appointment of political secretaries by the earlier chief minister had led to the Karnataka HC issuing notices to the federal government on this regard.
Bengaluru-based political analyst A. Narayana instructed ThePrint that there was a precedent in Karnataka of appointment of those that couldn’t, for numerous causes, be accommodated within the cupboard, as political secretaries. As an illustration, former CMs H.D. Deve Gowda, J.H. Patel, Dharam Singh, B.S. Yediyurappa and Basavaraj Bommai too had political secretaries in tow.
“Nearly all CMs have executed this (appoint political secretaries). That is one technique to circumvent this rule that the whole energy of the ministry shouldn’t exceed 15 per cent of the meeting. Ever since that rule got here into being, all governments have appointed political secretaries and this quantity has gone up,” Narayana instructed ThePrint.
In keeping with the 91st Modification to the Structure (2003), the whole variety of ministers in a state cupboard, together with the chief minister, shall not exceed 15 per cent of the whole energy of the legislature.
Narayana, who’s a college at Bengaluru’s Azim Premji College, identified that though Karnataka has had a historical past of political or parliamentary secretaries and even ‘financial advisers’, the place of ‘chief adviser’ is a brand new idea within the state.
V.S. Ugrappa, a senior Congress chief, instructed ThePrint, nonetheless, “There’s priority of appointing advisors and it has been executed with the great intention of offering good administration”.
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What’s cupboard rank standing
Kanugolu’s appointment, nonetheless, hints extra at who Siddaramaiah desires to belief throughout his second stint as chief minister, mentioned celebration sources. With Shivakumar more likely to declare his flip as chief minister as soon as the federal government nears its midway mark, and the overall election subsequent yr, Siddaramaiah appears to be rewarding these loyal to him, sources added.
A cupboard minister attracts round Rs 3.22 lakh per thirty days as wage, moreover rental allowance of Rs 1.2 lakh and every day allowance of Rs 2,500. The individual can also be entitled to an official residence, automobiles and separate workers on the expense of the exchequer.
Regardless of having stepped down as CM in July 2021, B.S. Yediyurappa continued to take pleasure in cupboard rank standing and lived in ‘Cauvery’ — the palatial bungalow which is seen because the unofficial private residence of the pinnacle of presidency in Karnataka — till final month.
Between Could 2018 and October 2019, Siddaramaiah too lived in ‘Cauvery’, which is positioned subsequent to ‘Krishna’ — the house workplace of the CM — as chairman of the coordination committee in the course of the tenure of the H.D. Kumaraswamy-led coalition authorities.
Although celebration sources claimed the All India Congress Committee (AICC) pushed for Kanugolu’s appointment, the 41-year-old strategist will now have unprecedented entry to the chief minister’s interior circle. Former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh had similarly appointed political strategist Prashant Kishor, a former colleague of Kanugolu, as his ‘principal adviser’ with cupboard rank standing in 2021.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)
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