Does Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah have it in him to stand up to his national party boss Sonia Gandhi?
This will become clear on November 30 when the state has to appoint a new chief secretary.
Indianmandarins has learnt that Ms. Gandhi has written to Siddaramaiah to consider appointing Ms. Ratnaprabha (IAS:1981:KN) as the next CS.
Her letter is said to be the first of its kind on the issue of appointment of an official to the chief minister.
Ms. Ratnaprabha belongs to the much-hyped Dalit community. Besides using this card to the hilt, she also dexterously uses the gender card.
Her other qualification for the post is said to be her untenable and uninspiring past. She is said to have faced serious allegations and inquiries through her career as an IAS officer.
She is also known as a wilful officer. For instance, even though she was allotted the Karnataka cadre, she manipulated to have herself deputed in Andhra Pradesh for as long as twenty years.
Her supporters argue that all the charges against her are baseless and that she was honorably acquitted in a damning corruption case in undivided AP. But her critics point out that she was let off on technical or ‘other’ grounds, but the proceedings against her for violation of All India Civil Services Conduct Rules are still pending. Of course, it’s another matter that both Karnataka and Telangana governments have been passing the buck and refusing to initiate action against her for violation of conduct rules.
It is pointed that a CBI Joint Director (Policy) wrote to both state governments more than a year back with 14 volumes of documents to begin an inquiry against her for violation of conduct rules. Despite several reminders from the Bureau and the GoI, current Karnataka Chief Secretary Subhash Khuntia, her batchmate, has not acted against her, lest she should charge him with gender and caste bias.
Since the NDA government has thwarted all plans to depute her in the Central government or acquiescing to her appointment as state CS despite its state party stalwart B S Yeddyurappa also pitching for her, Ms. Gandhi seems to have come out in support of Ratnaparabha in the belief that this may earn her the trust of Dalit voters in the next round of state elections.