From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
Bengaluru, Apr 20: In view of the continuous surge in the Covid infection cases during the second wave of the pandemic in Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka, an informal all-party meeting in which state Governor Vajubhai Vala participated through video conferencing with chief minister B S Yediyurappa joining from the Manipal Hospital while undergoing treatment for being tested Covid positive, Karnataka seems to be heading for some tough choices to control the situation.
Imposing a limited lockdown for 10 or 15 days as is being done in Delhi and some other states or go in for a Janata Curfew as done by the Maharashtra government to involve the people or clamp down stringent restrictions including imposing Section 144 of IPC appear to be the hard choices before the state government.
Governor Vajubhai Vala emphasized the need for ensuring 'healthy Karnataka' instead of seeing large sections of people being infected and suffering from the Covid pandemic and suggested that the government should go ahead and impose a complete lockdown if it becomes inevitable.
While Congress Opposition leader in the State Assembly Siddaramaiah, who is a former chief minister, felt complete lockdown might become too tough on the people and suggested that restrictions including clamping Section 144 to prevent a large gathering of people, another former chief minister and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy wanted the government to announce a complete lockdown to prevent unnecessary movement of people barring essential services or health professionals as the present night curfew has not proved effective in containing the situation.
Chief minister B S Yediyurappa, who participated from Manipal Hospital while undergoing treatment for Covid inspection, said he has heard the suggestions of both Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy as well as other opposition leaders and indicated that he would take a decision after consulting his ministerial colleagues.
State chief secretary P Ravikumar, who also participated in the virtual meeting, is believed to be in regular touch with the chief minister and updating the latter with the views expressed by the participants in the meeting.
According to informed sources, the state government is likely to announce its decision on the measures to be taken to control the spike in the Covid cases. However, it is not clear if the lockdown, if announced, will be confined to Bengaluru or extended to other high-risk cities and districts as well. Sources, however, said the state government is likely to order the closure of malls, hotels, pubs and bars and other commercial establishments besides gyms, swimming pools and cinema theatres and extend the present restrictions perhaps till mid-May.
A final decision is likely to be announced tonight or by Wednesday morning.
State Assembly speaker Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri, Legislative Council chairman Basavaraja Horatti and opposition leaders in both houses Siddaramaiah and S R Patil along with Kumaraswamy participated in the meeting. Home and law and parliamentary affairs minister Basavaraj Bommai, revenue minister R Ashok along with chief secretary P Ravikumar and other senior officers and technical experts joined the meeting.