Bengaluru, April 4 (IANS) Putting an end to overlap between two health ministers, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa made Education minister S.Suresh Kumar a pointsman to handle all information on Covid-19 and brief the media, an official said on Saturday.
“The Chief Minister has made Kumar in-charge of all information on Covid-19 and brief media on the efforts of all stakeholders, including the state government in fighting the pandemic,” the official told IANS here.
Kumar, a 5-time ruling BJP legislator from the city’s northwest assembly segment (Rajajinagar), is the new pointsman in place of health minister B. R. Sriramulu and medical education minister K.Sudhakar, who will, however, continue working in their posts.
“As separate briefing by Sriramulu and Sudhakar were overlapping or incomplete due to lack of complete information with them, Yediyurappa decided to centralise gathering and disseminating the Covid news to the media through Kumar to avoid overlap,” asserted the official.
With the deadly coronavirus invading the world and disrupting normal life as never before, the 8-month-old BJP government has been grappling with its fallout even as the number of positive cases shot up to 144 and claimed 4 lives so far in the southern state.
“As information on the virus flows from multiple sources, the chief minister has set up a task force under chief secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar to streamline it for briefing by Kumar,” the official said.
Yeddiyurappa’s earlier attempt to make only Sudhakar brief the press on the virus-related news to avoid overlap or contradiction between their statements at different places did not succeed, as the media, especially 24×7 news channels, were hounding them for factual updates that were not available with them all the time.
Denying rift or friction between the two, Sudhakar said Sriramulu was not only a senior minister, but also was like his elder brother and they report to the Chief Minister.
Sudhakar, a doctor by profession, became cabinet minister in early February on winning from the Chikkaballapur assembly segment, about 70km northeast of Bengaluru, in the December 6 by-election, after he resigned from the Congress in July as a rebel.
Sriramulu, a senior minister, belongs to the Valmiki (hunters) or Nayaka community and won from Molkalmuru in Chitradurga district, reserved for the Scheduled Tribes (ST) in the May 2018 assembly elections in the southern state.