Transport minister and senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy on Thursday said that he saw no merit in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's plans to have a minister exclusively for Bengaluru development.
Speaking to reporters here, he said since Chief Minister holds the crucial finance portfolio, it would be in the interest of Bengaluru if he keeps Bengaluru development portfolio with him. There is no need for a separate minister for Bengaluru development, he added.
Reddy is also Bengaluru in-charge minister. If the Chief Minister implements his plan, Reddy is likely to be stripped of his responsibility as Bengaluru in-charge minister. In case he is allocated Bengaluru development, then he may stand to lose the transport portfolio.
Siddaramaiah had announced his plan to have an exclusive minister for Bengaluru before the just concluded Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) election. Even after the debacle in the polls, he reiterated that there is no change in his plans.
R Roshan Baig, who is currently Information Minister, actor-turned-politician Anant Nag and V Somanna, the BJP MLC, had served as Bengaluru development ministers between 1996 and 1999 when Janata Dal was in power. But Baig and Nag were ministers of state while Somanna had independent charge.
At other times, chief ministers had retained Bengaluru development under their charge and so has Siddaramaiah along with Bangalore Development Authority and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board. Though the BJP will hold the reins of the BBMP, the Congress-led state government would have a say in the overall development of the city as it can direct the Palike pertaining to development issues. The Palike budget requires State government approval.
Reddy said the government will take legal action against those guilty of causing financial loss to the BBMP in the last five years, as per the Rajendra Kumar Kataria report. All cases of irregularities are being probed and action will be taken against those found guilty, he added.
On the Congress' defeat in the BBMP polls, Reddy said he was shocked as he had not expected many people to support the BJP due to rampant corruption in the BBMP during its rule. He denied bungling in ticket distribution and said that the Congress fielded good candidates.
The BJP might have won the BBMP polls, but it has got about 7 lakh less votes compared to 2014 parliamentary elections. Whereas the Congress' vote share has improved considerably, he added.