K.N. Venkatasubba Rao

Today's meet a litmus test for Government

  • Officials told to evolve a method to select the right persons
  • Ministers, legislators under pressure to increase the number

    BANGALORE: A crucial meeting of the high-level committee headed by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy scheduled for Saturday to select the Rajyotsava awardees is likely to be a litmus test for the political will of the coalition Government. Will it select the right persons and restrict the number of awards to a reasonable number?

    Conducting the selection process without political interference and controversies has become a challenging task for the committee as the State is observing the golden jubilee year of its formation, according to sources in the Government.

    The Government has directed the officials concerned to evolve a comprehensive method to select the right persons for the awards based on the existing guidelines. It has recommended that the number of awards "be restricted to 50."

    Despite the notice that was issued stating that said that voluntary applications would not be considered, the Department of Kannada and Culture has reportedly received over 500 applications so far. On the corresponding date in October 2005, it had received over 3,000 applications.

    Owing to the decision to put a halt to the voluntary application culture, many Ministers, including the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, and legislators are said to be under pressure from various quarters to increase the number of awards.

    In 2005, the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition Government created a record by presenting 175 Rajyotsava awards. On the eve of November 1, the then Deputy Chief Minister, M.P. Prakash, stated that the number of awards would be limited to 75. But both Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh and Mr. Prakash generously accommodated another 100 awards.

    In contrast, in 2004, the S. M. Krishna Government too had asserted that the number of awards would not exceed 50.

    Owing to pressure, the Government was forced to relent and increased the number by five.

    Mr. Kumaraswamy has repeatedly stated that the number of awards will be restricted to 50.

    But some persons in the Government, who do not want to be named, are sceptic about the political will of the coalition in the light of their experiences in the selection game.