Former IPS officer and advisor to Home minister, M Kempaiah is yet again in news -- again for all the wrong reasons. This time, it is not some investigating agency that is after him. 

Over the years, Kempaiah, has come under the scanner of the Lokayukta, Directorate of Income Tax , Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement, and Anti Corruption Bureau, which have all investigated him following various corruption charges. But the former top cop successfully dodged indictment in all these cases.

However, the growing powers of the ‘shadow home minister’ (as he is known in the power corridors) has now begun to unnerve Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s cabinet colleagues -- who finally mustered courage to air their concerns to the latter on Wednesday. It’s no secret that Kempaiah is a close confidante of Siddaramaiah, who trusts the former implicitly.

In the past, the opposition BJP and JD(S) haven’t missed an opportunity at taking pot shots at Siddaramaiah for his nexus with Kempaiah. But given the recent developments in the State, Siddaramaiah’s political rivals are now literally baying for Kempaiah’s blood.

It all started with the failure of police intelligence in effectively handling the communal flare-up in the coastal region. The Dakshina Kannada district which has been bogged down by communal tension over the last few months, was however witness to escalating violence despite prohibitory orders being in place.

The Congress government was put in a spot when the BJP worked itself into a frenzy after the death of RSS worker Sharath Madiwala. BJP leaders led by MPs Shobha Karandlaje, D V Sadananda Gowda and B S Yeddyurappa made enough noise to attract national attention into what it claimed were “political murders”. 

Accusing ministers Ramanath Rai and U T Khader, who hail from the district,  for fueling communal hatred, the BJP demanded that their immediate resignations. They also rained accusations on Kempaiah in equal measure. This, especially after Siddaramaiah asked him to monitor investigations in Dakshina Kannada. 

Taking a dig at Siddaramaiah, they said that Kempaiah might as well be made the home minister or the chief minister. Joining in on the chorus, JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy said that it was a shame that Siddaramaiah had accorded the minister of state rank to somebody who had joined the police force by submitting a fake caste certificate. 

Both parties said that as long as Kempaiah was at the helm of the Home department, police officers would be unable to function independently and fearlessly. The Dakshina Kannada violence was followed by the prison bribegate and the separate State flag issues, all of which have left the Congress government and the party high command red faced.

Following the repeated face loss, Siddaramaiah himself pulled up Kempaiah recently. However, when his fellow ministers tried to dissuade him from continuing with Kempaiah as his advisor during the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Siddaramaiah didn’t take their suggestion kindly.

The chief minister is learnt to have told his colleagues that it would be unwise to depend entirely upon the IPS officers themselves, as they might try and misguide the government. Kempaiah may have weathered this storm too. But any more slip ups, even Siddaramaiah may not be able to come to his rescue, given the fact that the Congress party cannot afford to damage its reputation any more.