India Politics
Kumaraswamy plans surgery to tone up administration
May 20, 2007 - 2:35:07 PM

Bangalore, May 20 - Irritated over the functioning of the bureaucracy, Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has announced that major changes are in the offing among senior officers.

Kumaraswamy, a fist time legislator, heads a coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party -.

Though Kumaraswamy has some senior leaders from his Janata Dal-Secular party in his ministry, apparently his own inexperience in administration as well as those of some other ministers from BJP has meant a free run for the officialdom.

At least that is what Kumaraswamy's increasingly frequent outbursts against senior officers indicate.

Kumaraswamy's attack on official lethargy has been so strident that early this month Chief Secretary P.B. Mahishi thought it fit to publicly defend his tribe by falling back on the oft-used statement - the bureaucracy is a horse, and which way and what pace it runs depends on the rider.

What is unusual in this defense is that Mahishi was picked up for the coveted post superseding a few seniors as he is known to be close to the family of Kumaraswamy headed by his father H.D. Deve Gowda, a former prime minister.

Even on Saturday when Kumaraswamy generally holds Janata Darshan -, he told reporters that there would be changes in the administration after he meets officers May 25.

He said changes did not mean just transfers alone. This is a clear indication of shuffling of senior officers whom the chief minister considers to be lax in implementing his government's policies.

Several senior officers who spoke to IANS on condition of anonymity found it odd for a chief minister to go around telling the media that he intends to effect major changes in the administration after a particular date.

They were of the view that he could have called the meeting of all secretaries to the government at any time and discussed the issues he proposes to do May 25.

In fact, they said, almost at every departmental meeting the chief minister has been having, he has been pulling up the officialdom for not keeping pace with his desire to ensure effective implementation of the government's policies.

Kumaraswamy, however, is unlikely to have a free hand in shuffling or shunting out the officers because he has to consult coalition partner BJP.

Kumaraswamy's 20-month term as chief minister is due to end in about four months time after which the BJP will take over the reins for the remaining 20 months of assembly's life.

There is speculation that officers belonging to the Karnataka Administrative Service - may be given some key postings on the ground so that they understand better the local problems and needs than their counterparts from the Indian Administrative Service -.

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