Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and All India Congress Committee general secretary in charge of Karnataka, Digvijay Singh, defended the induction of D K Shivakumar and Roshan Baig into the Cabinet stating that no charge sheets had been filed against them.
Speaking to reporters after attending the party’s co-ordination committee meeting in Bangalore on Monday, Singh said it was the discretion of the chief minister to induct ministers of his choice into his ministry. Cabinet berths for “tainted” Shivakumar and Baig had triggered a controversy.
“At the same time, adequate precautions were taken to ensure there was no charge sheet against them. It is only after ascertaining that there were no pending cases in courts against them, they were inducted into the Cabinet,” Singh said.
Siddaramaiah said there was no pressure on him to induct the two MLAs. Singh said ministers against whom charge sheets had been filed and even convicted by the courts continued to serve in the BJP governments.
However, when pointed out that a charge sheet had been filed against Shivakumar and the trial stayed by the court, Siddaramaiah said, “I am not aware of any charge sheet.”
Asked if he would take action against Shivakumar if a charge sheet had indeed been filed, Siddaramaiah said, “Let us see. Where is the charge sheet? Even if he is charge-sheeted, one cannot say he is guilty.”
On several Congress MLAs meeting Singh seeking Cabinet berths, Siddaramaiah said, “There are several seniors in the Congress who are eligible to become ministers. They are desirous of becoming ministers, but that does not mean there is dissidence in the party,” he said. State Congress president Parameshwara said the party would hold four mammoth conventions in Gulbarga, Belgaum, Mysore and Bangalore in the coming weeks. He said AICC president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi had been requested to attend the meetings. He said all the members of the party enjoying power in the government would quit their organisational responsibilities as per the ‘one man, one post’ policy advocated by Rahul Gandhi. The process would be completed by January 15.
Party workers conventions would also be held in all the 224 Assembly constituencies in the State. The party would hold its election committee meeting to shortlist candidates for the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies after January 15, he said.