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Opposition demands White Paper on BBMP's finances

Staff Reporter

Continuing the tradition, council meeting is marked by mud-slinging


‘BJP following KMC Act only in violation'

Various subjects approved without discussion


— Photo: K. Murali Kumar

Making a point:Opposition Leader in the BBMP Council M. Nagaraj during the meeting on Friday.

Bangalore: With disruptions in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Council meetings becoming de rigueur, Friday's was no different. The meeting witnessed acrimonious scenes with the Opposition Congress and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party involved in mud-slinging over budget preparation.

It began when Jayamahal councillor N.K. Gunashekar alleged that the BJP was following the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976 only in violation. Demanding a White Paper on BBMP's financial status, he wanted to know why the budget estimates had not yet been prepared and finalised.

Budget presentation

Quoting sections 166 and 167(3) of the Act, he said the estimates should have been presented on February 1, while as per Section 170, the budget should be presented three weeks before the end of the financial year.

Opposition Leader M. Nagaraj demanded the reasons for the delay in presenting the budget and wanted to know when the Chief Minister was going to come to the BBMP to announce Rs. 1,300 crore in special grants. “Is the Chief Minister scared to come to BBMP? Does he not have guts?” he asked.

That was enough for the BJP councillors to storm the well and demand an apology from Mr. Nagaraj. Ruling party Leader B.S. Sathyanarayana stated that the Chief Minister had not come as he was “saddened” by the way the Opposition parties behaved in the council.

Meeting adjourned

When the councillors of both parties started to raise slogans, Mayor S.K. Nataraj adjourned the meeting for 15 minutes.

After the meeting resumed, various subjects were approved by the BJP without any discussion. This again led to some bickering and eventually a walkout by the Congress councillors.

Later, Mr. Nataraj admitted that “in the history of the civic authority,” the rules pertaining to budget have not been followed judiciously. The budget has almost always been presented only in April. He said the senior leadership of the party wanted the new mayor to be in place before the budget is presented.

Stonewalling charge

Addressing reporters later, Mr. Nagaraj said that the BJP has not kept its word on several assurances made by its leaders. “No development work has been taken up in the city. The BBMP is in deep financial crisis and we wanted the Commissioner's response on the issue. Instead of responding to our question, the BJP blamed us for disruptions and approved subjects without any disruptions. We were ashamed with their behaviour and decided to walk out,” he said.

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