The B S Yediyurappa government ousted Health Minister B S Sriramulu and gave the portfolio to Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar as Karnataka recorded 7 lakh Covid-19 cases on Monday, with the death toll nearing 10,000 in the state.
Sriramulu, who belongs to the Valmiki (Scheduled Tribe) community, has in turn been given charge of the social welfare department, hitherto handled by Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol. Karjol, however, continues to retain the Public Works Ministry.
Yediyurappa also took the Backward Class Development charge back from Sriramulu.
The decision comes amid the opposition Congress alleging corruption against the ruling state government over procurement of Covid-19 related medical equipment, which the BJP had vehemently denied.
Sudhakar, a doctor by profession, will now be in-charge of both the health-related portfolios.
Both Sudhakar and Sriramulu have been fighting for power ever since the pandemic started. The ministers, who sparred over the responsibilities on the coronavirus crisis, expressed their differences of opinion in handling the Covid crisis in the past months.
Sudhakar, a disqualified rebel Congress MLA, won on a BJP ticket and became a minister in the Yediyurappa cabinet in February. He had aspired to get the health ministry portfolio as he is a doctor. But during the portfolio allocation, Sudhakar got the medical education ministry, to which he had later expressed discontent.
When Sriramulu took leave for his daughter’s marriage, Sudhakar took charge of the Health Ministry and managed to stay in the media limelight. After returning, Sriramulu even threatened to resign for being sidelined.
Speaking to reporters in Mysuru on Monday, Health Minister Sudharkar said the cabinet reshuffle was just another administrative process and it had nothing to do with the performance of the ministers.
“Everyone has worked hard during the crisis and we (Sriramulu and I) are still part of the task force. There is no question of discontent amongst us as the CM had consulted us before changing the roles,” Sudhakar said.