In a bid to clear the recent confusion and heartburn among his Cabinet colleagues, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Saturday divided the responsibility of the government’s response to COVID-19 in Bengaluru among three Ministers.
While Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar will be overall incharge and will specifically look into strategy, guidelines, war room, and media briefing, Deputy Chief Minister C. N. Ashwath Narayan will be in charge of setting up and overseeing COVID-19 care centres. Revenue Minister R. Ashok will be in charge of treatment at private hospitals, sources said.
Recently when Dr. Sudhakar was in home quarantine after his family members tested positive, the Chief Minister appointed Mr. Ashok to lead the government’s response to the pandemic in the city. This caused heartburn among several Ministers, mainly Dr. Sudhakar and Mr. Narayan, it is learnt. The return of Dr. Sudhakar to work a few days ago after he completed home quarantine and tested negative, led to confusion as both Mr. Ashok and Dr. Sudhakar were overseeing COVID-19 affairs in the city.
“Mr. Ashok was given charge only in the absence of Dr. Sudhakar, but he refused to give up even after the Minister who led the charge from day one returned,” sources in the party said.
“Mr. Yediyurappa has divided responsibilities and asked all of us to work in coordination to ensure patients get the best care at the right time,” Dr. Sudhakar told media persons after the meeting with the Chief Minister on Saturday. He said the task force meeting chaired by Mr. Yediyurappa deliberated on whether lockdown was necessary in the city.
“Dr. Narayan and I argued that a lockdown was not needed at this stage. The Chief Minister will take a final call on the issue. He directed us to ensure strict sealing of areas that have been reporting surge in cases,” he said.