Poll panel asks Karnataka to withhold officials’ transfer

Bengaluru: The Congress government in poll-bound Karnataka has asked to withhold the transfers of seven IAS officers, including three district chiefs, as the poll panel wasn’t consulted, an official said.

“Currently, the special summary revision of electoral rolls is taking place ahead of the state polls, and during this time a transfer of any district officer must be made only after consulting the EC,” the state’s chief electoral officer Sanjiv Kumar told IANS here.

“The state government has been asked to withhold the transfers and wait for EC’s approval,” he added.

The state government had on Monday issued transfer orders for seven Indian Administrative Service officers: M.V. Jayanthi, V. Chaitra, S.B. Shettannavar, M.V. Venkatesh, Rohini Sindhuri Dasari, K. Rajendra and B.R. Mamatha.

Out of these, three were serving as Deputy Commissioners in different districts: Dasari in Hassan district, Venkatesh in Haveri and Mamatha in Ramanagara.

During the period of the electoral roll revision in the state, all the district officers are directly under the control of the state poll panel, said the CEO.

“Electoral rolls revision is a very sensitive issue. The district officers during the process are on deputation under the EC, so there is no place for malpractices like intimidating the officers,” he reiterated.

The elections in the southern state are due in April-May, with the poll panel yet to announce the dates.

The transfer of Dasari had drawn several political reactions.

H.D.Deve Gowda, the Lok Sabha lawmaker from Hassan, a strong belt of the dominant Vokkaliga community to which the ex-Prime Minister belongs to, had criticised the government’s move.

“I’ve never seen a government like this one anywhere that transfers honest officers,” he had said.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state unit president B.S. Yeddyurappa had said: “…the transfer of Dasari is unceremonious. Is there no place for honest and upright officers in this government?”

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had however defended the transfers saying it was a “routine administrative matter”.

“The state can make the transfers as the poll dates or the code of conduct has not been given out yet by the poll panel,” he contended.