Coming to the defence of Health Minister B. Sriramulu, Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy said the Minister was in constant touch with the officials of the Health Department.

Mr. Reddy was inaugurating the Rural Police Station at Hiriyur here on Saturday.

The Revenue Minister said Mr. Sriramulu need not be there at the spot all the time. “Using facilities such as telephones he can get latest information,” he said.

Mr. Sriramulu had come under sharp criticism of Opposition parties for failing to discharge his duties as Health Minister and spending time only in Bellary when the State was on the brink of an outbreak of epidemic during the monsoon.

The Reddy brothers and Mr. Sriramulu had been busy in Bellary after undertaking “Swabhiman yatra” to counter the “Bangalore-Bellary padayatra” of the Congress.

On the criticism by some Congress leaders that Mr. Sriramulu tonsuring his head was an uncivilised act, Mr. Reddy said: “Mr. Sriramulu shaved his head to ward off evil forces that struck Bellary district”.