The state government’s decision to appoint A Sampath as the special representative at a Cabinet rank has been flayed by the Opposition as ‘extravagant expenditure’.

Why give Cabinet rank Row over A Sampaths posting as Keralas representative in DelhiPic/ A Sampath MP Facebook Page
news Politics Friday, August 02, 2019 - 18:50

A Sampath, a three-time MP of the CPI(M), has been appointed as a special representative of the Kerala government to coordinate with the NDA government. The post is a Cabinet rank post and the decision to appoint Sampath as the representative was taken at the state cabinet meeting on Thursday. 

The appointment has been flayed by the Congress-led opposition in the state, who has called it an extravagant expenditure from the state exchequer.

“The decision to give a post with cabinet rank to someone who was defeated in the elections is something which has not even been heard in the history of the state,” KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran said. In the recent Lok Sabha elections, Sampath lost to Adoor Prakash of the Congress, which had come as a big jolt to the party in its stronghold Attingal constituency in Thiruvananthapuram. 

Mullappally also alleged that the state government is collecting flood cess to fund such extravaganza.

“There is full-fledged Kerala house, there are experienced and eminent IAS officers if the government wants to get things done at the Centre; what capability does a defeated candidate have which the IAS officers don’t? This is at a time when the state has been suffering a severe financial crunch. People hit by the deluge last year have not received any assistance yet and at such a time the state government is finding new ways of extravaganza,” Mullappally accused.

The government has clarified that the appointment has been made to ensure that the Centre implements schemes for the state which have been delayed.

“There are in total 29 MPs for the state both in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, why is a special representative needed? There are two different governments, a BJP and a non-BJP one, both at the Centre and in the state. But what is opposed is the Cabinet rank, which in turn paves way for the creation of other posts too and hence an extra pressure to the state exchequer,” a source said.

Former Chief Secretary of Kerala CP Nair told TNM that it is usual for north-Indian states to appoint liaison officers with the Centre but in his knowledge this is the first time that Kerala has made such a move.

"Sampath is ideal for the post since he has been an MP for three terms, he knows senior bureaucrats and ministers and he is aware with procedures and modalities. The ministries give more importance to politicians, irrespective of political parties, rather than bureaucrats. Unlike several other MPs from the state, it is not the first time Sampath is in Delhi. The state needs central sanction in several areas, like the fund for flood rehabilitation, projects in Railway, National Highways, etc. An experienced politician with a cabinet rank will be able to push those projects. If a bureaucrat approached a ministry for a project, nobody would be that keen to listen but when a senior politician does the same, that would get due importance. That is the sole justification for the government’s move,” CP Nair said.

However, reports suggest that the appointment was not discussed in the Left Democratic Front headed by the CPI(M). 

"It was not a policy decision to discuss at the LDF and it was not a political appointment either. It was an official decision at the government level. It's common for states to appoint a liaison officer," LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan told TNM.

"The Cabinet rank was given for make it more official, to make him get acceptance, to get protocol hierarchy as he has to deal with government secretaries in Delhi. Other states like Andrra and Karanataka give cabinet rank for liaison officers," he added



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