Karnataka Rural Development Minister K S Eshwarappa on Wednesday complained to the Governor against Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, alleging direct interference in the affairs of his department.
Eshwarappa, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Shivamogga and who had been a long time associate of Yediyurappa, met Governor Vajubhai Vala and submitted a five-page letter on “seriouslapses and authoritarian way of running the administration” by the chief minister.
“I had to bring certain administrative matters relating to my rural development department to the notice of the Governor. I have brought it to his notice. He has examined things in detail. I’m happy with the meeting,” the senior minister told reporters.
“I don’t want to say anything in detail… I have shared whatever I had to with the Governor, the rest is left to him,” the former state unit president of BJP said.
BJP sources did not comment immediately on the matter.
In his letter, Eshwarappa said he was in “pain” to bring to the Governor’s notice some of the recent actions of the chief minister relating to his department, which amounts to ‘direct interference’ in the affairs of ministers in-charge of departments.
It is also in clear violation of the ‘Karnataka (Transaction of Business) Rules, 1977’ and also against the established practices and procedures relating to the affairs of the state administration, he said.
Citing instances, Eshwarappa said the chief minister recently ‘ignored’ him by sanctioning huge funds on the request of MLAs to the tune of Rs 774 crore under RDPR Department by bypassing minister-in-charge.
He also alleged that the chief minister’s office exerted pressure on the RDPR principal secretary to issue a government order for the release of funds, which was stayed by him on the advice of the state party president and other senior leaders party leaders.
The minister said, again on March 4, works worth Rs 460 crore were sanctioned by bypassing him.
Though he stayed the two allocations and another worth Rs 65 crore, it was superseded by the chief minister, he alleged.
“Immediately after receiving such directions, I have registered my strong objection through a letter highlighting the indiscriminate sanction of funds to various MLAs/persons in violation of rules, but it was of no avail.”
Eshwarappa said he had brought the “serious lapses” to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,Union Home Minister Amit Shah, national general secretary in charge of Karnataka and national general secretary organisation, other senior party leaders, highlighting the CM’s style of functioning in “blatant violation of rules”.
“I request your kind self to advise the chief minister to adhere to the rules and practices followed in the discharge of the duties by the cabinet minister and further to take into confidence the cabinet colleagues and adopt policy of non-interference in discharge of constitutional responsibilities by the cabinet colleagues,” he said in his letter.
In another letter to the BJP national general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Arun Singh last month, Eshwarappa alleged that substantial allocation was made to constituencies headed by non-BJP MLAs.
The finance department, under Yediyurappa, was yet to release Rs 2,398 crore allocated to the RDPR department, he said.
The department was sanctioning huge funds in the form of special grants, ignoring the ongoing developmental schemes and programmes, which amounts to mismanagement.
“The above actions of the finance department has put me in an embarrassing situation in the eyes of our party MLAs and party workers, who are very critical about the allocation of special grants to the constituencies belonging to opposition party MLAs,” he added.
Once considered close to each other, the “distance” between Eshwarappa and Yediyurappa has grown over the years.
In 2017, Eshwarappa had associated himself with the ‘Rayanna Brigade’, which was seen as a move to challenge Yediyurappa’s style of functioning as the BJP state president.
The opposition Congress demanded Yediyurappa’s immediate resignation or that he be sacked, following Eshwarappa’s charges.
“A senior BJP minister has made very serious accusations against CM Yediyurappa in a letter to the Governor. The CM must either immediately submit his resignation or sack the minister if the accusations aren’t true. Karnataka’s BJP Government has become a den of corruption,” Karnataka Congress president D K Shivakumar tweeted.