Karnataka Minister Dr Sudhakar K has been given the additional charge of Health and Family Welfare Ministry, which until now was held by B Sriramulu. With this, Dr Sudhakar will be in charge of both the Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education portfolios after he was made the minister-in-charge of handling COVID-19 crisis for Bengaluru by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. Since the onset of the pandemic, the government has been criticised over a lack of synergy between the Health and Medical Education Department in tackling the pandemic.
However, a top source in the know of developments, has told TNM that this change has little to do with COVID-19 crisis but more with the internal tensions within the BSY government. As part of the changes affected in this reallocation of ministerial portfolios, Sriramulu will now be in charge of only the Social Welfare Department. Even the Backward Classes Welfare Department has been taken away from him with the CM choosing to keep the portfolio for himself for the time being.
Prior to Monday, the Social Welfare portfolio was being held by Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol along with the Public Works Department (PWD). From Monday, Karjol will be in charge of the PWD only. The official notification of the reallocation of the portfolios has been signed by Governor Vajubhai Valla.
The source said Sriramulu, an influential leader in the state's Hyderabad-Karnataka region has offered to resign as it is clearly a ploy made by Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi who was successful in convincing the CM to strip Sriramulu of his plum portfolios. “This is because Ramesh who hails from the same Valmiki community wants to portray himself as the tallest leader of this Scheduled Tribe at the expense of Sriramulu’s belittlement,” said the source.
Ramesh, a former Congress leader, had led the ‘rebel’ gang of disgruntled MLAs including Dr Sudhakar who resigned from the Congress-JD(S) government and paved the way for BJP rule in the state. The source said Sriramulu who was himself a prime contender for the Deputy CM post is being assuaged by the CM to withdraw his resignation.
Yediyurappa, who wrestled himself to the CM’s seat buoyed by the controversial resignation of 17 MLAs, has been forced to do a balancing act in cabinet reshuffle - accommodating the former rebels and party loyalists.