Opposition, party members slam BSY over Covid orders
Bengaluru: The opposition and a section of the Bharatiya Janata Party has hit out at chief minister BS Yediyurappa for his U-turns on Covid-19 related decisions and raised questions over the quality of administration and leadership. “Without any doubt, the government is taking Covid-19 very lightly. We can’t see even 10% of the steps taken during the first 30 days of the pandemic. Apart from there is no consolation or any attempt to take the experts and the Opposition into confidence over the steps taken by the government to fight the pandemic. A decision such as allowing full occupancy in theatres and to open gyms etc is not the right step, but the government is not ready to listen to anyone,” said Congress legislator and former minister HK Patil.
A BJP leader, who didn’t want to be named, said that Yediyurappa’s indecisiveness is putting the state government in a difficult position. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leading the country by example during the pandemic, but here in our state, the leader is confused. Taking a U-turn has become a trend for the state government. This needs to be changed,” he said.
The BS Yediyurappa-led government since the start of the Covid-19 induced national lockdown last year, has reversed its orders quite a number of times, drawing flak from different quarters.
On May 3, 2020, during the peak of the nationwide lockdown, the Karnataka government started facilitating Sharmik trains to ferry migrant workers to various states. Just three days later, the BS Yediyurappa-led government decided to stop these trains and within two days reversed this decision.
Close to a year later, as the state witnesses a second wave of infections, the government on Sunday decided to reduce the occupancy of movie theatres to 50 % and close down gyms in the state as a preventive measure. But this decision was reversed within a day.
These are several such instances when the state government did flip-flops on key decisions on Covid-19 prevention. Yediyurappa’s indecisiveness has been a matter of discussion since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.
In April 2020, during the lockdown, the government first allowed the movement of two-wheelers and the opening up of the Information Technology (IT) offices with one-third of the workforce. But on April 19, just a day before this decision was to be implemented, the order was rolled back.
Within few days, on May 1, 2020, Yediyurappa announced that migrant labourers would have to pay for buses ferrying them. Even this decision was reversed on May 2, 2020, after objections were raised by activists, claiming the bus operators are charging exorbitant fares.
Then came the decision to stop the Sharmik trains for migrant workers after a meeting with a real estate delegation on May 6. “The government allegedly told that letting migrants go home would severely hamper developmental, construction and other industrial activities. But when media started showing stories about the migrant workers walking back home since there were no trains, he reversed the decision within two days,” said Vinay Srinivasa, a Bengaluru-based lawyer and activist.
The other decision that he reversed were stopping the supply of free food to daily wage workers in government-run Indira Canteens. This decision was pulled back within 24 hours of its announcement on March 23, 2020.
Another section of the saffron party, however, argued that this shows that the government believes in course correction based on expert opinion.
Defending the chief minister, revenue minister R Ashok said that the situation in the state is changing constantly and the chief minister is taking decisions that would ensure people’s safety and economic activities. “This simply shows that the chief minister is willing to listen to both the health experts and the industry, act without any ego,” he said.