The garbage issue plaguing Bengaluru turned messy at the BBMP council meeting on Saturday after BJP corporator Umesh Shetty ‘questioned’ the mayor’s powers to form committees to look into civic issues.
Shetty’s embarrassing remark came after Congress members accused the ruling BJP of trying to cancel the garbage tenders which were called in January 2019 when the Congress-JDS was in power in the civic body. They alleged that the BJP was trying to cancel the tenders instead of issuing work orders to successful bidders.
Congress corporators led by house leader Abdul Wajid, former mayor BN Manjunatha Reddy, G Padmavathi, Gangambike and Sampath Raj led the protest. Wajid had questioned the intention of the BJP in not issuing work orders to nearly 45 contractors.
Unable to bring about order, mayor M Goutham Kumar adjourned the meeting for 10 minutes. Later, he clarified that his colleague Umesh Shetty had been misunderstood by Congress corporators and that Shetty’s intention was not to say that the mayor does not have the power to form a committee.
When the Congress members continued to demand an apology from the BJP and removal of Shetty’s ‘statement’ from the record, Kumar replied, “If Shetty has made any such statement, it will be removed from the record of the council proceedings,” and requested the opposition to end its protest.
In his defence, Shetty said the then ruling BJP in 2010-15 had also formed some committees and the then Congress opposition leader BN Manjunatha Reddy had raised a similar question. The state government had scrapped the committees formed by the mayor, he added.
Mayor Goutham Kumar said mayors have the powers to form committees but it is up to the state government to take a final call.