It is just about six weeks since he took charge as Chief Minister of Karnataka, and in this short period, Jagadish Shettar has succeeded in bringing about a semblance of control over his Council of Ministers which his predecessor had found extremely difficult during his one-year administration, thanks to intra-party differences within the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Mr. Shettar told The Hindu that the speed with which the government brought the exodus of the northeast people under check shows that the law and order situation is well under control. “Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Minister for Home Sushil Kumar Shinde had a word of appreciation,” he said.
Sources in the State government said the first of the special trains that have been put into service for the return of the northeast people is expected to arrive here on September 3. Home Minister R. Ashok, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister, travelled to several States of the northeast over the weekend to convey to the people there that the State is peaceful and that those who had fled from the State can return.
Mr. Shettar has ensured that all the 33 members of his Council of Ministers are “one”. “I have ensured that even if there is any opposition to a given subject (within the Cabinet) it should be on constructive lines. All Ministers have cooperated (so far) and I am confident it will continue for the full term.”
He said the core committee of the State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party had met twice after he took charge of office, and the meetings have been held in a cordial atmosphere.
Several important decisions have been taken and the members of the core committee have been functioning as one team in the larger interests of the State, the party and the government.
“No decision has been taken on the reshuffle of portfolios of Ministers, and efforts are afoot to appoint chairmen for most of the government boards and corporations,” he said.
The Chief Minister said he was against any form of communal politics and would firmly deal with any such situation. “Peace and harmony are most important for the growth of the State, and tension due to any communal hatred will be nipped in the bud.”
With reference to the exodus of the northeast people, the kind of which has never happened before, he said: “Karnataka is well-known as a peace-loving State and I am confident that all those who left will return. The State government has taken all measures to safeguard the interests of the people of the northeast residing in Karnataka.
Mr. Shettar said: “My Chief Ministership is only for a limited period of ten months, and I will do my best for the State and the people. Many of the government programmes and schemes launched earlier will be implemented effectively.”
He said the recent rain has come as a boon at a time when most taluks of the State were reeling under drought and the farmers were in distress. The farm loan waiver (Rs. 25,000) scheme has been implemented and much more would be done in the interest of the farming community, in particular the farm labourer.