Tainted won't find berths in Siddaramaiah Cabinet

Tainted won't find berths in Siddaramaiah Cabinet

Tainted won't find berths in Siddaramaiah Cabinet

Apparently eyeing the Lok Sabha polls next year, the Congress high command is on an image-building exercise by deciding to induct into the Karnataka Cabinet only legislators having a clean image and good administrative skills.

The party top brass that started the exercise on Tuesday set stringent criteria to ensure that tainted MLAs or MLCs do not get berths in the new government.

Legislators facing serious criminal and corruption charges, charges of involvement in illegal mining, land grabbing, and especially those whose names figure in the report of the Committee on Task Force for Recovery of Public Land and Protection, will not be accommodated in the Cabinet, sources told Deccan Herald.

Also, MLAs facing allegations of working against the party candidates in the just-concluded Assembly poll will be kept away. The party is working on the ministry expansion in two stages — appointing 15-20 ministers immediately and filling the remaining slots after about six months. In the first slot, senior legislators having served as ministers will be made Cabinet ministers, while new faces (not the first-time MLAs) will be made ministers of state, the sources added.

“The top priority of the party will be to boost the image of the government by appointing only ministers without taint. Giving representation to each district may be difficult immediately, but the party will ensure that leaders capable of swinging votes in its favour in the next parliamentary elections will be given priority in the Cabinet formation,” a senior leader said.

Congress leaders, including Karnataka in-charge general secretary Madhusudan Mistry, AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes, former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro and Karnataka unit president G Parameshwara, held an elaborate discussion in this regard here on Tuesday.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will join them on Wednesday.

Amid hectic lobbying for Cabinet berths, Congress Lok Sabha member H Vishwanath urged the high command to not consider the names of legislators with a tainted background. “To ensure clean governance, tainted MLAs or MLCs should be kept away,” he told reporters.

Senior leader D K Shivakumar, who is lobbying for the deputy chief minister’s post, said he would abide by the party high command’s decision.

Reacting to allegations of his involvement in illegal mining, he said they were all politically motivated and baseless. “Courts have given me a clean chit in all the cases. Some vested interests have levelled these charges against me to tarnish my image,” he told reporters.