Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu on Thursday moved to clarify earlier remarks on the issue of the coronavirus pandemic — “Only God has to save us all” — that have set off a political storm.
With Karnataka witnessing a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases, Sriramulu’s statement in Chitradurga on Wednesday was in response to the opposition Congress’ charge of the government failing to tackle coronavirus spread, but he later claimed his remarks were ‘misinterpreted’ by a section of the media.
With coronavirus cases surging daily across India and the healthcare system on the verge of collapse, the Health Minister of Karnataka said only “God can save us” sparking a controversy.
The comments of B Sriramulu, a leader of BJP, evoked sharp reactions from Congress.
Karnataka is now the fourth worst-affected state after unseating Gujarat. It has 47,253 cases and 933 have passed away.
He said his intention behind the remarks was that till the time a vaccine was developed to tackle the contagion, only God has to save all while people’s cooperation was important.
“I had said that besides people’s cooperation, God should also protect us but some media interpreted that Sriramulu has become helpless with respect to coronavirus spread,” he said in a late night video message on Wednesday. “My intention behind saying so was that till the time a vaccine comes, it is only God who can save us. It should not be wrongly interpreted.”
He was replying to Opposition charges, especially by Congress state chief DK Shivakumar and former chief minister
Siddaramaiah, who accused the government of failing to control the coronavirus spread due to lack of coordination and differences between ministers, mainly between Sriramulu and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar.
Sriramulu said the disease, spreading across the country and warranting extreme caution in the next two months, does not differentiate between ruling and opposition members.
The opposition’s charges that the government was careless and ‘irresponsibility’ of ministers or differences between them was leading to a spike in the infections were far from the truth, he asserted.
Sriramulu took to Twitter on Thursday to clarify his remarks, responding directly to Shivakumar.
“This is a clarification regarding my words that have been misinterpreted and misunderstood. While responding to claims of the opposition that the government’s negligence, irresponsibility and the lack of coordination among ministers are responsible for the rise in cases in the state, I stated that ‘these accusations are far from the truth. People need to be aware and cautious to avoid the spread of the virus. This plays a vital role in controlling the pandemic,” he said in a series of tweets.