Health Minister Harsh Vardhan resigns

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New Delhi, Jul 7 (PTI) Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, whose handling of the COVID-19 crisis drew flak from critics, resigned from the Union Council of Ministers on Wednesday, official sources said.

The resignation came hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi carries out a major expansion and reshuffle of his Council of Ministers in which 43 new members are expected to take oath.

Besides Vardhan, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister D V Sadananda Gowda are two other Cabinet ministers who have quit. Several union ministers of state have also resigned.

Vardhan, a doctor himself, had been in charge of the health ministry as well as the science and technology ministry as the Covid pandemic broke and then India worked to develop vaccines.

However, his various comments in the middle of the crisis were slammed by critics as insensitive and ignorant of the ground reality, even as he strongly defended the government's handling of the situation. PTI KR ASK SMN

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