Last week, with the change of the state government, Karnataka got 3 Deputy Chief Ministers. Govind Makthappa Karajol, Ashwath Narayan and Laxman Sangappa Savadi are new 3 Deputy Chief Ministers of Karnataka. With coalition government losing the vote of confidence, BS Yediyurappa, BJP party leader was called to form the government and he is the new Chief Minister of Karnataka.
This is the first instance Karnataka having 3 Deputy Chief Ministers. What is the role of Deputy Chief Minister? Did Karnataka need 3 Deputy Chief Minister?
Role of Deputy Chief Minister (Dy CM)
The office of deputy chief minister in states is not mentioned in the Constitution of India. Will Dy CM acts as Chief Minister in his absence? Not really. In the absence of Chief Minister, the senior most minister or may be Dy CM (if he is the senior most minister) will act as the interim Chief Minister.
Dy CM does not have any specific powers. Usually DY CM holds a cabinet portfolio or may not be too. Govind Makthappa Karajol is allotted Public Works Department, Ashwath Narayan is given higher education and Laxman Sangappa Savadi given transport portfolio.
The office of DY CM came into existence as an arrangement to please all the parties, especially in a coalition form of government. In a coalition government, if a leader from one party becomes the Chief Minister, from another party, Dy CM is appointed, to bring about stability in the government. SM. Krishna was appointed as the first Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka in 1992, in M. Veerappa Moily’s cabinet. He was appointed, in a single party government, due to his seniority in the party.
Currently, 15 out of the 31 States and Union territories have deputy chief ministers. Out of these 15 States and Union territories, Andhra Pradesh has five Deputy Chief Ministers, Karnataka has three Deputy Chief Ministers while Uttar Pradesh and Goa have two deputy chief ministers each. No other states have more than one deputy chief minister in office.
Did Karnataka need 3 Dy CMs?
With no specific powers to Dy CMs’ office and further with single- party BJP being in power, 3 Dy CM does not serve the purpose as in coalition form of government nor senior leaders are appointed as Dy CM. Further, DY CM Savadi is neither elected as a member of the legislative Assembly nor the legislative Council. Many senior BJP leaders like KS Eshwarappa, R Ashok, who served as Dy CM earlier are quite disappointed with the recent appointments.