Bickering in Congress over ministers' appraisals (Karnataka Newsletter)

Last Updated: Fri, Sep 27, 2013 09:40 hrs

Bangalore, Sep 27 (IANS) The Congress is yet to complete ministry formation even four months after coming to power in Karnataka but is caught in bickering over whether there should be quarterly or annual appraisal of ministers' performances.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his ministers are for an annual appraisal.

However state party chief G. Parameshwara is insisting on quarterly appraisals, saying that this is the norm in other Congress-ruled states.

He is going ahead with finalizing the parameters for appraisals on the ground that party vice president Rahul Gandhi is for assessing the ministers' work every three months.

But the move has led to resentment among the ministers, most of whom are lobbying hard to make the appraisal an annual affair.

However, none of them is publicly expressing opposition to quarterly appraisals as the chief minister himself had spoken recently against the move.

Siddaramaiah, while welcoming the move for the party periodically assessing the performance of the ministers, had said last week that this must be done preferably after one year as three months time was too short for exercise.

The reason advanced was that the ministers didn't have adequate time to understand the working of their departments and settle down in the job.

Also they had to devote lot of time to party work as bypolls to two Lok Sabah seats and three legislative council seats were held in August. The bypolls meant the model code of conduct in force preventing announcement of many schemes they had planned to launch in the first 100 days of the government.

Parameshwara has sought to allay apprehension among the ministers over what happens after the appraisals.

He has been saying that it is only meant to ensure that the government's functioning meets the expectation of the people who had voted the party to power.

With no clarity on whether the exercise will remain a party affair or the results of the appraisals will be made public, ministers and the party continue to lock horns over the issue.

The effort at assessing the ministers' performance comes at a time when the party remains unable to decide on four names to complete the ministry formation.

As per law Karnataka can have a 34-member ministry, including the chief minister.

Siddaramaiah alone took oath as chief minister on May 13 after the party won the May 5 assembly elections.

He later induced 29 ministers but is still waiting for a nod from the party high command to fill four vacancies.

Apparently, the party has not finalized the names as it is not clear on whether or not to accommodate Parameshwara in the cabinet.

Ahead of the May 5 assembly elections, he, along with Siddaramaiah, was a strong contender for the chief minister's post.

But Parameshwara lost the elections, making it easy for the high command to pick Siddaramaiah.

Since then, there has been speculation in Congress circles that Parameshwara will be accommodated in the ministry at a suitable time.

Parameshwara has often said that he wants to be in the cabinet.

With the Congress high command not being able to decide on ministry completion, it remains to be seen how seriously the ministers take its appraisal exercise.

As far as people of Karnataka, any effort by any ruling party to provide good government is welcome as the quality of life is steadily deteriorating in the state, particularly in the capital Bangalore as it continues to grow at a rapid pace.

(V.S. Karnic can be contacted at

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