Avenues of employment do not shut for civil servants even after they retire.
Either the lucrative private sector comes calling or the government often seeks their services in various roles. Over the years, however, a sizable number of retired civil servants have tried their luck in politics with varying degree of success.
The fact that many from their fraternity have tasted defeat is not a deterrent.
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Speculation is rife that additional chief secretary (public works) B H Anil Kumar, a 1987-batch officer, will take the political plunge after superannuating this month.
It is said that Kumar might contest the 2023 Assembly election against former deputy chief minister G Parameshwara.
When contacted, Kumar said he would take a call after his retirement. On whether any political party has approached him, he responded in the negative.
There is also speculation about Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s principal secretary N Manjunath Prasad, who belongs to the 1994 batch. However, he categorically denies harbouring political ambitions and dismisses such talks.
“I am not comfortable with politics. These are mere rumours. I am the last person to think of entering politics,” he says.
Then, there is M Lakshminarayana who retired as additional chief secretary in 2018 and currently heads the Karnataka Panchayat Raj delimitation commission.
He acknowledged that he is considering a political future during the 2023 Assembly elections.
Karnataka has had a long list of civil servants joining politics. One of the first was D T Jayakumar, who became the Nanjangud MLA in 1985 on a Janata Dal ticket after voluntarily retiring as a police sub-inspector. Many have followed suit since.
Former director general of police H Veerabhadraiah is believed to be the first from the IPS to enter politics by contesting, unsuccessfully, the 1989 Assembly election from Krishnaraja constituency in Mysuru.
Later, former IPS officers P Kodandaramaiah and H T Sangliana got elected as Lok Sabha members.
Agriculture Minister B C Patil was a police officer, who later became an actor. Kudachi BJP MLA P Rajeev, too, was a cop.
Madhugiri JD(S) MLA M V Veerabhadraiah was an IAS officer. Former Bengaluru police commissioner Bhaskar Rao resigned from the IPS to join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Rao is said to be planning to contest from Jayanagar, Padmanabhanagar or Basavanagudi.
Youngsters K Annamalai (IPS) and Sasikanth Senthil (IAS) resigned from the services to join the BJP and Congress, respectively.
In the 2018 Assembly election, former IAS officers Siddaiah and Syed Zameer Pasha contested as Congress candidates from Sakleshpur and Kolar, respectively. They lost.
The list is long
Once in the fray, little time was wasted by several of these former government servants to hone their political acumen and even shift party loyalties at the earliest convenience.
Civil servants who have dabbled in politics have varied views on the lure of a life as public figure.
“It is difficult to satisfy anyone once you are in politics,” says Veerabhadraiah, the JD(S)’ lawmaker who points out that his entry into politics was to extend social service to people.
“Civil service is better when it comes to helping people as any issue can be taken to its logical end.”
Decorated IPS officer Shankar Bidari, who has had stints in both the Congress and BJP, says he has decided to keep distance from politics.
“The field is rife with corruption, lies and false assurances,” he rues.
“I cannot adjust to the ways of modern-day politics as you have to say one thing and act contrarily,” he says, vowing to continue social service.
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