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Eye on Karnataka polls,Cong earmarks districts for ministers

Congress has entrusted party responsibility to its union ministers from Karnataka.

Seeking to link ministerial rewards with electoral performance,the Congress has entrusted party responsibility to its union ministers from Karnataka,giving them about half-a-dozen districts each to prove their political worth in next year’s Assembly elections. This comes after the party’s successful experiment last March when it had assigned different Assembly segments to these ministers in the Udupi-Chikmagalur bypoll.

Congress sources said the four union ministers — S M Krishna,M Veerappa Moily,Mallikarjun Kharge and K H Muniyappa — have been assigned six to eight districts each and asked to re-energise the party in these respective districts in the run-up to the next Assembly elections. These ministers are expected to hold regular public meetings,take stock of the implementation of central schemes,and take up public grievances with the district and state administration. They will also be sending regular reports to the Congress high command about their work.

“The purpose is to revitalise the party in the state. We have actually given one division comprising many districts to each of these ministers. We have done it because there have been widespread complaints from party workers about development being neglected by the BJP government. Despite our repeated complaints to district and state administration,development works did not take place. We,therefore,decided to use our ministers to address these complaints. It will also keep them in direct contact with the people,” AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka Madhusudan Mistry told The Indian Express.

Asked whether their performance would have any bearing on their ministerial position,he said,“They have to perform because they belong to the state and have some responsibility towards the people.”

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The decision to proactively involve ministers in party work could also address the long-held grouse by party workers about being neglected by ministers. At the recent extended Congress Working Committee meeting,many speakers had demanded that ministers should be given responsibility of individual states. Congress president Sonia Gandhi has,on several occasions,pointed out complaints from party workers about being neglected by ministers. The party has directed its union ministers to visit party headquarters whenever they are on tour.

The Congress won only six out of 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka in 2009 — four out of these six got ministerial berths. Despite their strong representation at the Centre,there appeared to be little impact as the Congress continued to lose ground. Although the BJP regime in the state has been hit by one scandal after another,the Congress has refrained from making any attempt to dislodge the BJP regime as it does not find itself in a position to go into electoral fray. But with former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa making frequent attempts to topple the D V Sadananda Gowda government in the state,there is a sudden urgency in the Congress to be “battle-ready”.

First published on: 22-06-2012 at 12:19:42 am
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