News Brief

Battle Over Covid-19 Handling In Karnataka: Portfolios Reallocated Twice In Two Days Even As Number Of Cases Grows

Health Minister B Sriramulu, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar.
Snapshot
  • The Minister for Health B Sriramulu was apparently taken off the responsibility of handling the Covid-19 operations. The move appears to be an untimely and uncalled for change of role in the midst of a crisis.

Even as Karnataka was battling the rising number of coronavirus cases and being lauded for its effort, on the political front the virus and its handling seems to have turned into a tug of war between a new ‘defected’ member and an old-time party loyalist.

In what seemed like an untimely and uncalled for change of role in the midst of this emergency like situation, the Minister for Health B Sriramulu was apparently taken off the responsibility of handling the Covid-19 operations.

This came as a surprise to many as the minister was seen at the forefront of operations having been on visits to all affected districts and working in coordination with the local administration as well as the hospitals.

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Although most in the media saw the differences between the two erupting quite clearly for the past week or so with both ministries and their social media putting out information often divergent from the other.

In a gazette notification that was signed by Governor Vajubhai Vala, the portfolios of two ministers, who have been in the thick of things since the corona battle in the state began, were reallocated.

Minister for Health and Family Welfare B Sriramulu was asked to no longer handle matters pertaining to Covid-19. Dr K Sudhakar, a new inductee into the party and one among the ‘defector’ who rebelled and led to the fall of the previous Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress coalition government in the state, was given the responsibility of this crucial ministry.

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While this is said to have not gone well with party loyalists who have already been simmering over the allocation of plum posts to a few of the rebels, one of whom is the said minister.

According to sources, the Chief Minister, who is currently pleased with the Bellary powerhorse and popular tribal leader, is said to have expressed disapproval of the reallotment, which is said to have been orchestrated by his political secretary and former journalist M B Maramakal.

Maramakal has had a three-decade long stint with a leading news daily and has been in the news during ‘operation lotus’ in the state where his voice is said to have also been heard in the audio tapes that made the rounds.

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But in less than 24 hours the order has been changed.

In the latest Gazette notification there has been another reallocation whereby the handling has been divided between the two powerheads. While Sudhakar will now handle his Ministry of Medical Education with the added responsibility of Covid-19 in Bengaluru and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) ‘war room’, Sriramulu will handle its operation in the rest of the state.

As of Tuesday evening, 41 positive cases were reported in the state including one death in Kalaburgi. Three patients have been discharged, with 37 patients in isolation across the state.

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The state saw its second suspected coronavirus related death today (25 March) as a 75-year-old from Gauribiddanur who had returned from Mecca. He was being treated at Bowring Hospital and passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, as tweeted by Sriramulu.

The septengenuarain was suffering from diabetes, chest pain and a hip fracture, and hence reports are awaited to ascertain the cause of death.

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