He has chosen to keep away members belonging to his caste from his Secretariat

Following in the footsteps of the former Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has chosen to keep away members belonging to his caste (Kuruba) from the Chief Minister’s Secretariat. He has reportedly advised his Ministers to follow suit.

According to sources close to Mr. Siddaramaiah, this was to put an end to the practice of Chief Ministers taking people from their caste or community into their secretariat. There is, however, already a slight dilution of the rule. Ajay Nagabhushan, who is reportedly from Mr. Siddaramaiah’s caste, has been appointed his secretary.

Under earlier administrations, a source said, caste favouritism was rampant, making it difficult for those with genuine grievances but who were not part of the “ruling caste” to get their voice heard.

Mr. Siddaramaiah was part of Hegde’s Cabinet 25 years ago. In a circular to all his Ministers, Hegde had asked them not to have anybody from their respective castes or social groups in their personal secretariat. The circular said that such a move would instil confidence in the public that decisions taken by the government on their applications or representations would be free from any interference.

The Chief Minister’s decision not to induct anyone from the Kuruba caste into his Ministry in the recent expansion of the Cabinet has disappointed 11 MLAs, including two former Ministers, belonging to the caste.

Meanwhile, it does not appear that Mr. Siddaramaiah will go ahead with his plan to make H.M. Revanna, who along with A.H. Vishwanath, MP, was instrumental in bringing him into the Congress, his political secretary.

The practice of appointing political secretary was introduced by D. Devaraj Urs when he choose veteran politician and socialist K.H. Srinivasa to the post. The practice was discontinued for almost two decades. But, after the second Administrative Reforms Commission restricted the State Cabinet size to 34, Chief Ministers went back to the practice of appointing political secretaries.

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