Chaos in BBMP council over scams, budget

Corporators from the BJP and the Congress engaged in a heated argument during the  BBMP Council meeting on Friday. DH Photo

This time, the parties sparred over the budget estimates for the Palike for 2011-12 that were yet to be prepared — a violation of the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act of 1976.

The issue was raised by Jayamahal corporator N K Gunasekhar under a Point of Order question, citing Sections 166 and 167(3) of the Act, which said the estimates should have been presented on February 1.

Besides, as per Section 170 of the KMC, the budget should be presented three weeks before the end of the financial year.

Opposition leader M Nagaraj questioned the delay in presenting the budget and sought to know the reasons for the chief minister not announcing in the Palike the Rs 1,300-crore special grants promised in the Budget 2010-11.

“Why is the chief minister scared? Doesn’t he have the guts,” Nagaraj asked.

Enraged, the BJP corporators stormed into the well of the House and demanded an apology from Nagaraj. BJP leader Katte Sathyanarayana said such behaviour of the Opposition for every issue “saddened” him.

With both corporators raising slogans inside the council, Mayor S K Nataraj adjourned the House for 15 minutes, only to resume it by approving the subjects mentioned in the day’s agenda, without discussion.

Protesting the Mayor’s action, Nagaraj, along with his corporators, staged a walkout.
After the session, Nagaraj told reporters that the BJP was functioning in an unconstitutional manner. “Instead of responding to our questions, the BJP blamed us for disruptions and approved subjects without discussion. So, we decided to walk out,” he said.

Responding to the allegations levelled against his party, the Mayor said: “Never in the history of the BBMP has any ruling party presented the budget before March. Besides, elections for a new Mayor and chairmen of the standing committees have to take place. There’s no option but to wait for them.”

On the demand by the Opposition for a white paper on the Budget, the Mayor merely said: “They will keep asking....”

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