Incidents with ministers

Incidents with ministers

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo

Chitradurga district was like home. My first posting as AC was there, and after a promotion, I was once again posted there as DC. People had great love for me.

This is the story of the visit of one of our best ministers and his enthusiasm for farmers, which resulted in his anger. The agriculture minister was one of our most respected leaders whose commitment to the welfare of people was well known. People used to consider him even as a Chief Ministerial candidate due to his commitment.

The agriculture minister decided to visit Chitradurga during times of scarcity when fertilizers were to be distributed liberally among farmers along with seeds. He heard that the distribution was not being done properly. He took me along to one such office. Here, we found a number of agitated farmers. Inside, the officer in charge was playing cards along with his friends.

The minister caught him by the neck and thrashed him twice, much to our shock. Without saying a word, the minister left with us. The media was not that strong those days and no journalist which meant that the incident was not publicised. The distribution of fertilizers went on. The young officer could have made some noise and crested some embarrassment, but he did nothing.

Situated on the highway, Chitradurga was the favourite camping site and watering hole for many VIPs and ministers. They would start late from Bengaluru and reach the town, camp overnight after a good dinner at the cost of the local establishment. The fisheries minister would always go a step further. He would camp at Chitradurga or Hiriyur, have a lavish dinner and insist each time for the hotel to pack different fish delicacies in stainless steel vessels to take it home for his family to enjoy. The vessels were never returned.

His staff was very powerful as well. Hence, the grassed officers of the fisheries department had to please them also by packing fish snacks. All this happened each time without exception. The Deputy Director of the fisheries department, who was a friend of mine, confided in me that he had to bear the cost from his contingency budget only. 

The fisheries minister was only a small-time leader, his behaviour was also suited to that level. The small exploitation was also in tune with the existing tradition of such petty exploitations, though it makes interesting reading now.

The reaction of the senior minister was unbelievable. Those who knew him and his furious temper will have no difficulty in believing it. They also will agree it was all in good faith out of his total commitment to the cause of the farmers. 

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