BENGALURU: All eyes are on the all-party meeting scheduled at 3 pm Monday, as the State government is set to announce more restrictions and extension of existing night curfew to contain the Covid-19 pandemic in the State. With Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa currently hospitalised for a Covid reinfection, Revenue Minister and deputy Chair for State Disaster Management Authority R Ashoka will head the all-party meeting.
Invitations for the meeting have been sent to MPs, MLAs and leaders of all parties to participate and provide their suggestions. Even as opposition parties are preparing to raise questions over the alleged shortage of beds, medicines and oxygen, apart from delay in deciding on exam schedules, ministers seem to be of different opinion on what the outcome of the meeting is likely to be.
While Ashoka has insisted that there will be no lockdown as per Yediyurappa’s clear instructions, Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar has insisted that the advice of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) needs to be implemented. The TAC has been suggesting a brief lockdown for over a month now.
“Personal opinions do not matter. We have to accept scientific solutions to contain the pandemic, whether or not we like it. The State and Bengaluru’s welfare is more important than our personal opinions. The Chief Minister will take the final call.
Implementing scientific suggestions given by the Technical Advisory Committee becomes more important than decisions due to political or other reasons. This is a pandemic and a health emergency,” said Sudhakar, speaking to reporters on Sunday. Sources in the government, however, said that CM Yediyurappa is vehemently against a complete lockdown, and Ashoka confirmed the same on Sunday.
“There will be specific regulations and protocols for Bengaluru after the Chief Minister’s approval. He has clearly said there will be no lockdown but tough restrictions will be imposed. He will take a call on whether night curfew will be extended. Last time around, thousands of people rushed to railway stations and bus stops. A lockdown will be an injustice to people’s livelihoods.
We should contain the pandemic but should not spoil people’s lives and livelihood. We will take action in a way that doesn’t impact the poor adversely. There will be no lockdown,” Ashoka said, in contradiction to Sudhakar’s stance.
To iron out differences ahead of the all-party meeting on Monday, Ashoka, Basavaraj Bommai and Sudhakar held an unofficial meeting at Kumarakrupa Guest House on Sunday.
The Congress, meanwhile, is keen on opposing a complete lockdown as well, and will urge the government instead, to focus on ramping up testing, vaccination and medical facilities. The party has also asked the State government to cancel examinations, given the situation.