COVID19 debacle costs Ramulu health portfolio, BSY faces rebellion
Deccan Chronicle| vinay madhav
Sriramulu sought appointment with BJP leaders in Delhi to air his grievance and get a better deal
A health worker wearing a PPE kit collects a sample from a woman for the COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test, at a city market in Bengaluru. PTI photo
Failure to handle Covid-19 spike in Karnataka cost Health and Family Welfare Minister Mr B Sriramulu, who has turned rebellion against Chief Minister Mr B S Yeddyurappa.
Mr Sriramulu, who has been Deputy Chief Minister aspirant since the BJP government came to power, has been stripped off his two portfolios — Health and Family Welfare, Backward Class Development and has been given Social Welfare Department to look after.
Soon after the order came, Mr Sriramulu rushed to Chief Minister Mr Yeddyurappa's residence and held an one hour meeting with him. After coming out of the Chief Minister's residence, Mr Sriramulu went to his residence and held another meeting with his close associates. Later, he sought appointment with BJP leaders in Delhi to air his grievance and get a better deal. When he failed to get an appointment, Mr Sriramulu also spoke of resigning from the cabinet and staying as just MLA.
Since Karnataka did not witness an early spike of Covid-19 cases, it was perceived that the government handled the pandemic situation well. Soon after the lockdown period was over, Karnataka was rearing to open all sectors to boost economic activities. However, during the second wave of Covid-19, chinks in the armours of Karnataka were open in public.
The state, which was cash starved, had overspent on unwanted things. Besides, a lot of irregularities by the Health and Family Welfare Department in providing Covid-19 services were exposed. Under the pressure from private educational institutions, the State government also tried the `Vidyagama' program for government school children. It backfired and triggered Covid-19 spike among students and teachers. The government withdrew the program and declared a three week interim holiday for all school related activities.
Worst was the lack of coordination between the Medical Education Department and Health and Family Welfare Department. Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar resigned from Congress during `Operation Lotus' to become minister.
However, Sriramulu is an old BJP member. This triggered a rift between the two, which worsened the pandemic situation.
Today, the daily average spike in Covid-19 positive cases in the state has crossed 10,500 and the daily average of Bengaluru city alone has crossed 5000. Even the total number of deaths in the State is reaching 9000, which forced Mr Yeddyurappa to shift Mr Sriramulu away from Health and Family Welfare Department.