Most ministers skip Cabinet meet

Of the 26 ministerial colleagues of Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, only 10 attended the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.

Gowda had convened a meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday to discuss, among other things, the Governor's address to the State legislature scheduled on January 30.

A majority of the ministers, who kept off the meeting, were very much in the State. They were attending local functions in their constituencies, while their chief, Sadanandad Gowda, was holding the Cabinet meeting at the Vidhana Soudha. The meeting notice was issued two days ago to all the ministers, according to official sources.

However, there is no quorum mandated for holding the Cabinet meeting. The chief minister can convene the meeting at any moment and the protocol warrants that all the Cabinet ministers should be informed before the meeting is held.

Normally, ministers stay away from meetings after obtaining the chief minister's permission. But attending the Cabinet meeting should always be top priority for a minister. She/he should cancel all other engagements and attend the meeting, according to a former chief secretary, who refused to be quoted.

Prominent among the ministers who did not attend the meeting are Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S Suresh Kumar, Water Resources Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Medical Education Minister S A Ramdas and Agriculture Minister Umesh Katti. However, Suresh Kumar is away in Bihar to study the Right to Services Act. Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje, Housing Minister V Somanna, Excise Minister M P Renukacharya, Social Welfare Minister A Narayanaswamy and Home Minister R Ashoka attended the meeting.

Transfers questioned

Ministers loyal to former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa are learnt to have raised objections to the chief minister's move to transfer a large number of officials without consulting their leader. Shobha, who also holds the Food and Civil Supplies portfolio, expressed displeasure over the move to transfer IAS officer V Yeshwanth, who was MD, Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Corporation.

Renukacharya is learnt to have questioned how the government can transfer officers ignoring the tallest leader in the party, Yeddyurappa.

The Excise Minister also took objection to the chief minister holding a closed-door meeting with the Chief Secretary, his Principal Secretary and the State police chief recently.

To this, Gowda is learnt to have replied that he was only using his powers as the chief minister in the interest of the State and all issues can be discussed at a meeting convened by the State party chief K S Eshwarappa on January 30.

State to push for amending Article 371

Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Wednesday said that his government would bring pressure on the Centre to amend Article 371 of the Constitution, so that special status is accorded to the backward districts in Hyderabad-Karnataka region. Gowda said it was worrying that though the Centre had agreed to amend the Article, the matter had not come up for discussion during the last Parliamentary session.

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