An early hub for Public Sector Enterprises, the cradle of Indian banking, a pioneer in education, research & technology, the driver of Indian IT & Biotechnology industries and a frontrunner in social justice & affirmative action. These are but few sobriquets that are bestowed upon the state of Karnataka. The erstwhile Mysore kingdom, ruled by progressive rulers who enjoyed far greater autonomy from the British compared to other Indian states help lay the foundation of the modern state which post independence were served by able, judicious & qualified administrators.
Since the year 2004, we have faced the rule of coalition politics. The current dispensation being the latest one, where the JD(S) with a mere 36 seats out of 225 is the leading partner in a coalition with Congress; traditionally a very strong political outfit in the history of Karnataka. Prior to the coalition, the BJP candidate served as CM for 3 days during which he failed to prove his majority. (An earlier stint of 7 days in year 2007 ended with him toppled from government due to the actions of the present CM).
The current cabinet comprises of 68 MLA’s who have criminal cases with 35 of them with serious charges. More than 90% of MLA’s across all parties are crorepatis with the top 5 MLA’s in terms of wealth belonging to the Congress party.
The cabinet comprises of 26 ministers with the CM leading the way with both criminal & serious criminal charges which includes forgery, cheating, criminal breach of trust & corruption in mining & property acquisition. The CM currently handles a portfolio of 8 ministries while his relatives & close confidants allotted a further 9 ministries. The CM’s brother & close relatives hold key portfolios like transport, PWD and higher education. The list of Congress ministers is no different. The minister of Medical Education & Major and Medium irrigation is a well known national figure with interests in mining & realty, facing serious allegations of criminal conspiracy & destruction of evidence.
As citizens we trust our leaders to make the right decisions in the interest of their people. However, with an arrangement like the one in Karnataka, where the third best party is leading the government there are bound to be ineffective people who are put in positions of power.
The minister of higher education has not completed matriculation nor has he held any position of power or influence in the field. How do we expect him to perform his duties independently without outside influence? The food & civil supplies minister is an 8th standard pass with serious charges of criminal negligence & endangering the lives of the public. Can we really expect him to discharge his functions judiciously in a key & critical ministry?
A 12th standard pass was our IT & BT minister in the last cabinet of ministers, currently the gentleman heads the social welfare ministry with his prime qualification for both the posts being that he is a son of a popular leader of national stature. Has the minister ever led a social agitation, was he ever a part of a research think tank or did he conduct ground breaking work for the progress of the disadvantaged sections
Similarly, our current minister for IT & BT is a 12th standard pass with a successful career in businesses such as real estate, but will he ever come up with path breaking initiatives in Information Technology.
And what other options do we have. The leader of the opposition spent time in jail on serious charges of corruption & land embezzlement. A good number of elected number from BJP faces serious charges that are on par with the charges faced by the Congress & JD(S) MLA’s. Do the citizens have a choice or more importantly do they care?