CM buckles, shunts Baligar

The beleaguered officer moved to Commerce Department

Baligar is now the Principal Secretary to Commerce and Industries Department. Both officers took charge of their new offices on Friday morning itself. Incidentally, it was Baligar’s birthday on Friday.

Though Lakshminarayan is also a Secretary to the CM, Prasad will perform the key functions like fixing appointments, scrutinising files of important departments and coordinating with departmental heads.

Principal demand

Shunting out Baligar was one of the demands of the rebel camp. It was the Reddys’ grouse that Baligar has become a barricade between the CM and MLAs. They were alleging that Baligar, though being a bureaucrat, was influencing the CM in taking independent decisions. The Reddys’ camp earlier had outwardly limited their demands to shifting of Baligar, sacking of Minister Shobha Karandlaje and change in style of functioning of Yeddyurappa. But now their one point demand is the resignation of the CM. Despite the high command’s intervention, the Reddys have refused to budge even an inch. They had even refused to meet the CM for holding talks.

A 1980 batch IAS officer, Baligar has wide administrative experience. He has served as the Principal Secretary to Infrastructure Development and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj departments. Yeddyurappa had made him his Principal Secretary in 2007 when he was the CM for only seven days.
Baligar had been in the eye of storm right from the day one of his assuming charge as the PS to the CM. A number of ruling party MLAs and ministers started grumbling about his style of functioning. Their complaint was simple: Baligar sticks to the rule book. There were instances of MLAs and ministers taking up a fight with the officer for this reason. They had also come out in open complaining about him. However, the CM had not yielded to any pressure and retained Baligar.

Besides Baligar, senior IAS officer Madan Gopal and number of KAS and IFS officers were made the scapegoats in the tussle between the Reddys and the CM. The Reddys forced the CM to remove Gopal as the Health department Principal Secretary a few months ago. Recently, Yeddyurappa brought back Gopal to the same post to hit back at the Bellary brothers. Senior IAS officer Subir Hari Singh has been appointed as the Development Commissioner.

Finance Department Principal Secretary M R Sreenivas Murthy was holding the post as an additional charge.

“It’s still a vantage point”

Revenue Minister Karunkara Reddy said the CM has again given a prime position to V P Baligar by posting him as the Principal Secretary of Industries and Commerce Department. “The CM is intelligent. Now Baligar is even more powerful position. The CM can summon him anytime to give him suggestions,” Reddy said while reacting to the transfer.

Asked why the dissidents including him were up against Baligar, he said, “Baligar is like Super CM. I am not the only who questioned his functioning. All MLAs and ministers including those supporting the CM are not happy with Baligar”.

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