BJP councillors keep away from meeting convened by Mayor

Stalemate in the Mangalore City Corporation Council continues as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) councillors from four standing committees of the civic body stayed away for the second time from the meeting of the committees called by Mayor Gulzaar Banu on Saturday.

Ms. Banu, who has been elected to the council from the Congress, had called a meeting to elect chairpersons of the committees. The BJP councillors did not attend the first meeting convened by the Mayor on March 16.

Members of the committees were elected on March 7 during the mayoral election. Each standing committee has seven councillors as members. The BJP councillors were in majority in all the committees. Except the Standing Committee on Taxation, Finance, and Appeals which has six BJP members and a Congress member, the remaining committees have five BJP members and two Congress members.

According to Section 11 and clause (5) of Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976, a member of the committee will lose his membership if he absents himself from three consecutive meetings without the permission of the committee.

The Mayor told The Hindu on Saturday that she convened the third meeting on April 2 to elect chairpersons of various standing committees. Harinath, senior councillor from the Congress, told The Hindu that the BJP members of the four standing committees had submitted a letter to Ms. Banu stating that since their party had challenged her election as Mayor before the court, they were not attending the meeting.

He said that if the BJP members did not attend the third meeting, then members to the committees would have to be re-elected.

K. Monappa Bhandary, spokesperson and former president of the district unit of the BJP, said the BJP had challenged the proceedings of the Mayoral election by the Election Officer (M.V. Jayanthi, Regional Commissioner, Mysore) and it was awaiting the court's verdict.

He said the fourth hearing in the case would be held on March 26. “We will wait and watch,” he added.

Mr. Bhandary said that the BJP would not accept Ms. Banu as Mayor, and hence, its councillors did not attend the two meetings. The Mayor has convened a meeting of the council on March 30 to present the budget for 2012-13.

Normally, it is the chairperson of the Standing Committee on Taxation, Finance, and Appeals who reads out the budget. The Mayor said that she would decide on who should read the budget on Friday. Sources in the corporation said that the budget had been prepared and passed by the last standing committee headed by Sharat Kumar.

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