Mayor needs presence of 22 councillors to hold monthly meetings and pass resolutions
Can the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which suffered a loss of face on Wednesday when it failed to get its candidate elected as Mayor, ask its councillors to stay away from the House to prevent the new Congress Mayor from conducting the Mangalore City Corporation's Council meetings?
This was one of the strategies being discussed on the corridors of the MCC soon after Wednesday's Mayoral elections.
It was argued that the BJP, which has 35 members in the 64-member House, can stop meetings from being conducted merely by staying away from them.
This strategy may backfire on the party not only because the Mayor can conduct the monthly meetings of the council even if all the 35 BJP councillors stay away, but also because the BJP councillors could lose their membership if they remained absent for three consecutive meetings.
The Commissioner of the corporation Harish Kumar K. told The Hindu that the minimum quorum required to hold council meetings is one-third (22 members) of the 64 members of the House (including the MP and three legislators). The Congress has 21 members and there are two independent councillors. The Janata Dal (Secular) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have once councillor each. Hence, conducting meetings may not be a problem for the Mayor.
The House could, on the other hand, pass a resolution saying it enjoyed quorum if the BJP councillors remained absent, according to Harinath, a senior councillor. He said that under the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, a councillor will lose the membership if the member stayed away from three consecutive meetings.
The Commissioner said that the existing Standing Committee for Taxation, Finance, and Appeals had prepared the draft of the Budget for 2012-13 and passed it. The new standing committee could review the draft before its chairperson presented the Budget in the council by this month end. The House enjoyed the powers to incorporate necessary corrections in the Budget before sending it to the Government.
The term of all the four new standing committees for which members were elected on Wednesday would be from March 11 to February 20, 2013. The four committees are dominated by BJP councillors.
Another ticklish issue is who would claim the credit for the next Budget? A senior Congress councillor sarcastically remarked on Thursday: “It will be theirs (he was referring to the BJP) as it is prepared by them and passed by the committee dominated by them.”
To a question, Mr. Kumar said that it was not important which party was in power in the council and Mayor, the Chief Whip, and the Opposition Leader belonged to which party. What was important whether the proceedings of the House were in accordance with the law.