He accuses BSY of indiscriminately sanctioning ₹65 cr. to a ZP headed by his relative
In a development that has brought into open rebellion by Ministers against the functioning style of Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, senior leader and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K.S. Eshwarappa has complained to Governor Vajubai R. Vala, the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister, and top leaders of the BJP against “interference in administration” by the Chief Minister in his department in violation of norms.
Mr. Eshwarappa is learnt to have personally met the Governor on Wednesday afternoon and submitted a five-page petition in which he has accused the Chief Minister of “direct interference” in the affairs of his department in clear violation of Karnataka (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1977, and also against the established practices and procedures relating to the affairs of the State Administration. The Karnataka Government (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1977, stipulate the division of powers between the Cabinet Ministers in charge of respective departments vis-a-vis the Chief Minister.
Highlights of Eshwarappa’s letter
- The Chief Minister is directly interfering in his department and sanctioning funds without involving him in the exercise
- The Chief Minister is putting pressure on the RDPR Principal Secretary to issue notifications on release of funds without
- his knowledge
- There is an instance of violation of the Gram Swaraj Act
- There are three instance of release of funds totalling to ₹1,299 crore
Citing the instances of interference in his department, Mr. Eshwarappa has alleged that based on a letter by the Bengaluru Urban Zilla Panchayat (ZP) president, who also happens to be the Chief Minister’s relative, Mr. Yediyurappa had directly sanctioned ₹65 crore to the zilla panchyat and put pressure on the Principal Secretary of the RDPR to issue a notification in this regard bypassing him. But the Principal Secretary did not have powers to issue such a notification without the Minister’s approval, Mr. Eshwarappa said.
Referring to the alleged favouritism in this instance, he said ₹65 crore was released under the head “district sector allocation for ZPs” for the Bengaluru Urban ZP as against the total annual allocation of only ₹1.17 crore for this ZP under this category. “There is no logic and fairness in sanctioning ₹65 crore to one district neglecting the remaining 29 districts,” the Minister lamented.
This was also a violation of the Provision of Karnataka Panchayat and Gram Swaraj Act, 1992, as the Chief Minister had approved the action plan for Bengaluru Urban ZP with respect to list of civil works submitted by its president though it was supposed to have been approved only by the general body of the ZP, the Minister said.
In another instance, the Chief Minister had sanctioned ₹774 crore from his department to MLAs by ignoring him and put pressure on the Principal Secretary to issue a Government Order in this regard, Mr. Eshwarappa alleged in the petition. He, however, stayed the order following advise from party top leaders.
Again, the Chief Minister had sanctioned another bunch of works to the tune of ₹460 crore on March 4 bypassing him, he alleged. Expressing concern over this, the Minister said he had put on hold all the three above releases totalling ₹1,299 crore.
In the petition, he said he was forced to approach the Governor as his letter to the Chief Minister registering his objection to such “indiscriminate release of funds” did not yield any results.
Describing this as “serious lapses and authoritarian way of running the administration” by the Chief Minister, he appealed to the Governor to advise the Chief Minister to adhere to the rules and practices and also to take into confidence the Cabinet colleagues.
‘CM-led Finance Dept. is responsible for dissatisfaction’
Mr. Eshwarappa, in the letter addressed to party national general secretary in charge of Karnataka Arun Singh, indirectly pointed an accusing finger at Mr. Yediyurappa, who also holds the Finance portfolio, for the dissatisfaction among party MLAs and workers about their constituencies not getting adequate funds. He appealed to him to change the administration style in Karnataka in the interest of the party.
Stating that only ₹1,600 crore of the total sanctioned amount of nearly ₹4,000 crore had been released so far to the RDPR Department, he added, “Such actions of the Finance Department has put me in great embarrassing position in the eyes of party MLAs and workers who are very critical about release of special grants to the constituencies of Opposition MLAs”. He said they were also expressing concern that adequate funds had not been released to their constituencies.
He has also indirectly accused Mr. Yediyurappa of showing bias against BJP MLAs by sanctioning more funds to the constituencies of MLAs led by other parties. Of the 81 Assembly constituencies for which funds were released recently, only 32 belonged to BJP MLAs, he said in the letter. While budgetary programmes had not got administrative approval, the Finance Department had made “outside Budget allocations” from his department, including ₹1,439 crore for a bunch of works and ₹775 crore to 81 Assembly constituencies, he alleged.
Will it give a handle to Centre?
Mr. Eshwarappa of petitioning the Governor has raised eyebrows as it gives the Centre a handle to deal with Mr. Yediyurappa through the Governor, if need be.
It is also being said that a host of other Ministers are upset that their departments too are being directly controlled by the Chief Minister with respect to release of funds. It remains to be seen if they too would make known their grievances to the party bosses or is Mr. Eshwarappa is representing them.
Congress says it is an indication of corruption
Reacting to a rift between Mr. Yediyurappa and Mr. Eshwarappa, All India Congress Committee general secretary in charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala on Wednesday said it was an indication of how “the BJP government is mired in corruption”.
In a tweet, Mr. Surjewala said, “What @INCIndia always said about Yediyurappa Govt has been verified by his own minister. It’s an illegitimate Govt born through a stolen mandate. It is mired in corruption. It is run in an authoritarian fashion to serve one man only. It should be shown the door.”
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D.K. Shivakumar also tweeted, “A senior BJP Minister has made very serious accusations against CM Yediyurappa in a letter to the Governor. The CM must either immediately submit his resignation or must sack the Minister if the accusations aren’t true.”