Bengaluru: Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who has already appointed three political secretaries/advisors, appears to be following in the footsteps of his predecessors, Siddaramaiah and H.D. Kumaraswamy, who had appointed as many as 10 and 12 respectively during their tenures.
While Mr Yediyurappa has still not caught up with them, going by sources, more such appointments are in the offing in the present government too. The practice is gaining ground as it reportedly allows the CM of the day to keep his coterie and unhappy legislators happy.
In the past, a Chief Minister had one or two political secretaries or advisers to help him deal with the problems of party legislators, transfer proposals and so on. But with a cap being put on the number of ministers, who can be appointed in a government, political parties are beginning to find these posts convenient to accommodate legislators who don’t make it to the cabinet, according to some of their leaders.
The BJP, which had criticised the previous governments for appointing a large number of political secretaries/advisers, now appears to be doing the same, with those who could not be inducted into the ministry, being appointed secretaries or advisers to the CM. It’s a lucrative position as every adviser or secretary enjoys all benefits of a Cabinet minister, including free accommodation, a government car, driver, perks, travel reimbursement and so on. Every secretary/ adviser is also given an office either in the Vidhana Soudha, Vikasa Soudha or a government building and is expected to attend all meetings (expect Cabinet meetings) of the CM, take notes and do follow- ups, track letters of legislators, brief the Chief Minister on feedback from people or the media on certain issues and keep him abreast of all developments.
In fact, there are over 200 personnel in the CM’s office to do these jobs, which makes the appointment of additional secretaries or advisers questionable.
Senior MLC Basavaraj Horatti says these posts have been created only to keep the unhappy legislators happy. “I have seen eight to 10 CM in my political career of four decades but I have not come across the appointment of so many political secretaries and advisers. It’s a waste of money and such posts should be abolished in the interest of the state economy,” he insists....