Pressure on Siddaramaiah to reconstitute cultural bodies

With the Congress coming to power in the State, the fate of chairpersons of various academies and authorities appointed by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is hanging in the balance.

It is said that campaigning by some of the chairpersons for BJP candidates in the Assembly elections has angered Congress leaders.

They are pressuring Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to reconstitute academies and authorities.


Following a letter from Mukhyamantri Chandru, chairperson of the Kannada Development Authority (KDA), seeking clarification on whether to resign, the Department of Kannada and Culture sought to know from Mr. Siddaramaiah the future course of action with regard to “position” of the chairpersons of academies and authorities.

Speaking to The Hindu, Secretary, Kannada and Culture, Basavaraju, said in view of the letter from the government seeking resignation of chiefs of boards and corporations, Mr. Chandru sought to know whether he should continue as the chairperson of KDA as his term would end by June 2014.


“Besides forwarding his letter, we have sought direction on the position of chairpersons of academies and authorities,” Mr. Basavaraju said.

Mr. Chandru said the KDA and Gadinadu Abhivrudhi Pradhikara (Border Area Development Authority) were formed under a specific Act to protect the interests of the land and the language.

Chairpersons of both the bodies need not resign soon after the change in guard in the State. “However, following government notification, I sought a clarification regarding my position”, he said.

Besides 12 cultural academies, there are various authorities including KDA, Kannada Book Authority (KBA), Kuvempu Bhasha Bharathi Pradhikara (KBBP), Urdu Academy, Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy and Madhyama Academy and Karnataka Bal Vikas Academy.

Vaijayanthi Kashi was appointed chairperson of the Karnataka Sangeetha Nritya Academy in 2011.

Folklorist Banandur Kempaiah was appointed chairperson of the Janapada Academy in 2012. Chairpersons and members for Karnataka Nataka, Lalita Kala, Yakshagana, Byari, Kodava, Konkani, Tulu and Shilpakala academies were appointed in phases after 2012.

The term of the KBA chairperson, Siddalingaiah, was extended twice and his term will end in the next two months. The term of Pradhan Gurudutt, chairperson of KBBP, will end shortly. M.A. Ponnappa was appointed chairperson of the Madhyama Academy in November 2012. Actor Tara was appointed as chairperson Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy in October 2012.

Chairperson of the Tulu Academy, Umanath A. Kotyan, resigned to contest the Assembly elections.

More funds

Though the BJP government had allocated more funds than the previous government to the Department of Kannada and Culture, it faced criticism for its alleged apathy in appointing chairpersons and members for various academies.

The delay in appointing the chairperson of the Kannada Sahitya Academy created discontentment in literary circles.

Though the term of M.H. Krishnaiah as the chairman of the Kannada Sahitya Academy ended in 2011, his successor has not been appointed yet.