The general body meeting of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) started on a stormy note on Wednesday with various contentious issues like One Town inundation, parking places, payment of fee to consultancies and projects to be taken up under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) dominating the proceedings.

The opposition parties' members stormed Mayor M.V. Ratna Bindu's podium on two occasions and entered into arguments with the Chair. The ruling Congress members joined them and shouted against members of the opposition parties – CPI, CPI (M) and TDP. While some corporators rushed to the podium, a few others squatted in the well. They demanded that the Mayor first take up the subjects related to roads, development and welfare instead of following serial order in the agenda. Ms. Ratna Bindu, however, asserted that she would follow the agenda as listed. It resulted in a wordy duel between opposition parties and the ruling party.

The Mayor announced a tea break as none of them heeded her advice. There was no improvement in the situation even after the tea break, and opposition parties rushed to the podium once again and demanded that the Mayor agree to their request. As there were no chances of resolving the deadlock, the opposition parties staged a walkout.

The opposition members alleged that the officials had misused their office by allotting a parking space without conducting auction. Even the general body was not informed, they said. Floor leaders D. Sankar (CPI), Ch. Babu Rao (CPI-M) and Y. Ramana Rao (TDP) and others spoke.

Novel protest

Earlier in the day, floor leaders and other corporators of the opposition parties arrived for the meeting in rickshaws with women corporators displaying cooking gas cylinders. Mr. Babu Rao, Mr. Ramana Rao and corporators Donepudi Kasinath, G. Koteswara Rao were among those who pedalled the cycle rickshaws. They raised slogans against hike in prices of petroleum products.

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