Many are upset the BBMP chose a mind-boggling 550-plus people to receive Kempegowda awards this year.
The numbers, adding up to 160 last year, have rendered the awards meaningless, they say.
Kempegowda awards are given to Bengalureans who have distinguished themselves in literature, art, culture and a host of other activities. Some respected names did make it to the list, but a good number was dubious.
At a ceremony last week, award-winners were so numerous they became the butt of jokes. A scholar posted a picture of a sea of humanity from a political rally, and captioned it, ‘Winners of the Kempegowda awards.’
Theatre personality Srinivas G Kappanna is among those protesting against the “terrible mess.”
The BBMP has disgraced the name of Kempegowda, founder of Bengaluru, by giving away awards to 500-plus people, many of them undeserving, he says.
Kappanna, who returned the Kempegowda award given to him the same day, told Metrolife political interference was turning the award process into a sham.
“When things like this happen, I lose faith in the BBMP,” he says.
Anil Shetty, President of the Nav Bharat Democratic Party, says, “This is a huge shame. There is no selection committee, although the BBMP claims it has one. If there is one, then the names must be in the public domain.”
The BBMP has not followed any criteria and awardees are from political parties, he says.
“Party members, a former chairman of the BMTC, a former deputy mayor and many others with no notable achievement to their credit have been given awards,” he told Metrolife.
If the BBMP can’t recognise real achievers, it’s better to scrap the award, he says.
Shetty slammed Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara’s statement that the number of awards depend on the State’s population.
“If that is the case, more than 300 Bharat Ratnas should be given away every year. This shows how foolish and irresponsible people in power are,” Shetty says.
He suggests a selection panel independent of the BBMP.
“Former judges and ex-servicemen should be on it, with the BBMP commissioner and mayor. It should be politically independent,” he suggests. Kappana says he returned his award disappointed with the entire chaos at the awards ceremony. “The mayor should tender a public apology,” says Shetty.
- The list of awardees is 550 and counting. Names were being added even as the awards presentation was in progress. Many who were not even on the list received the awards this year.
- The award carries a cash prize, which has varied between Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,000.
- The BBMP claims it has a selection panel but has not disclosed the names of its members.