The Karnataka government has extended the tenure of the Jayaprakash Hegde-led Karnataka State Backward Class Commission by an additional month. Following several days of uncertainty and speculations, the government decided to postpone the submission of the socio-economic and education survey report, widely known as the caste survey report.
Hegde said, the government has granted an additional month or until the next order, whichever comes first, to submit the final report.
“We are in the stage of final scrutiny, and all members of the commission, including me, have to sign the final report. Then we will submit the survey report,” explained the chairperson of the commission.
However, Hegde refrained from providing a specific date for the submission of the report.
Arun Kumar, another member of the commission, mentioned that the report is ready, although final scrutiny is necessary. He added that the report needs to be printed, and some additional procedures are still underway.
Minister for backward class development and Kannada and culture department, Shivaraj Tangadagi, hinted at the extension earlier, saying, “We will surely accept the report and implement it as promised. But it might take a little more time.”
Earlier this month, chief minister Siddaramaiah reassured the public at a convention in Chitradurga and expressed his government’s commitment to accepting the report and making it public. However, he did not mention any further delays in the report submission.
Political observers suggest that the government’s decision to push the report beyond the Karnataka budget indicates a strategic move to avoid controversy before the budget presentation. Some speculate that the report will be submitted just before the budget, potentially distracting the opposition during budget discussions.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticised the state government for further extending the tenure.
“It shows the internal pressure that Siddaramaiah is facing in the party. If not, what is the reason to extend the commission tenure by one month again? By doing this, he wants to buy more time and the very fact that this is extended because his party men are not okay with it. If they delay it till one month, the election code of conduct may be placed due to the Lok Sabha elections. After that for three more months, the caste survey report can’t be made public. I think it’s a breathing space for the government,” said Suresh Kumar, the former law minister and senior BJP leader.
He also questioned the commitment of Siddaramaiah by saying, “Announcing is different and implementing it is different. There is no point in just announcing in front of the public. And most importantly, Siddaramaiah should attempt to bring unanimity among the party leaders. He has failed in it and further extension of the tenure is proof of that.”
As of now, the state government has not issued any official statement following the extension of the commission’s tenure.