Forget the expansion, fight drought

dc-Cover-qgdcpi41urqvsr2al70rmq7g21-20160503061622.MediChief Minister Siddaramaiah serves meals to schoolchildren at Byluru village in Siraguppa taluk of Ballari district on Monday

At a time when state is facing the ‘mother of all droughts,’ the last thing the Congress high command wants is the chief minister coming hopping to the national capital to discuss the much delayed Cabinet reshuffle.

And that too when his visit is sure to be followed by a sprees of visits by a multitude of Cabinet aspirants for whom the top brass would hardly have any time to spare, when they are fighting a tough poll battle in five states.

Sources said that despite Mr Siddaramaiah denying any diktat of this kind from the high command to tackle the drought first, clear instructions were issued to him to stay put in the state and find solutions to the drinking water crisis in particular.

The senior politician that he is, the CM, no doubt is upset with the directive but has no option but to fall in line. Interestingly, Mr Siddaramaiah, when asked by the media about the diktat last week, replied in a huff that nothing of this kind had happened and the media should not cook up stories which were not true. The reasons for the CM being annoyed are not hard to find. The drinking water crisis may continue till May end.

And if the monsoon rain is delayed, Mr Siddaramaiah will have to confine himself to Bengaluru to review the situation besides visiting the worst-hit districts.  Till all this is over, the CM can hardly think of a reshuffle to cut the flab and induct new faces.

The Congress government in the state is set to complete three years in office on May 13, and the CM  was planning a shake-up of the council of minister by dropping at least ten non-performers and inducting an equal number of new faces. This is now unlikely to happen and Mr Siddaramaiah may have to wait till May end to effect his plan, the sources added.

CM: Reshuffle put off owing to drought
Reiterating that he would complete his term in office, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday dismissed reports about change of leadership as creation of the media.

He told reporters here that in view of the acute drought, the much-delayed cabinet reshuffle as well as celebrations to mark completion of three years in office by his government would be put off.

“Right now, I am touring drought-hit areas, hence it will not happen this month,” he said on reshuffle of his ministry, adding that it could take place only after the onset of monsoon.

“I will go to New Delhi, ostensibly to discuss cabinet reshuffle, only after visiting drought-hit regions,” he said adding that mitigation of the effect of scarcity conditions and not reconstitution of cabinet was his first priority.

Four teams, headed by ministers, were touring drought-hit regions to oversee relief operations including supply of drinking water, fodder, and creation of employment. He criticized BJP legislators of this district for not attending the review meeting.

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