As expected, there was drama during the 2012-13 budget discussion in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) council on Thursday.
While a senior councillor staged a walkout protesting against the denial of a chance to speak, there were a few councillors who seemed to have forgotten to maintain decorum during the proceedings.
Senior councillors from the Opposition Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress — Padmanabha Reddy (Kacharakanahalli) and K. Chandrashekar (Hanumanthnagar) — lambasted the ruling BJP for presenting a “bogus and bundle” budget with the sole intention of availing more loans.
‘Won’t meet targets’
Mr. Reddy pointed out that the BBMP would not be able to meet the targets in revenue collection, as mentioned in the budget. Stating that the budget was just another “election tactic”, he urged Mayor D. Venkatesh Murthy to not approve the budget. “Just implement the previous financial year’s programme of works. Don’t take up any new projects for another 15 years. In that way, the BBMP’s financial condition will stabilise,” he suggested.
He also said it was ironical that the BJP, which had opposed the JD(S) floating municipal bonds for Rs. 125 crore, had proposed to raise Rs. 1,000 crore through the same means.
About the several welfare schemes in the budget, he said, “People only want a basic civic infrastructure. These schemes have been included only because Assembly elections are round the corner.”
Mr. Chandrshekar said that the BJP’s three budgets had been presented with the sole intention of availing loans. “Be that as it may, what are your plans to repay these loans? If these have been planned, where do they feature in the budget?” he asked.
He also charged that works worth Rs. 1,100 crore had been deleted from the budget. “These projects were frozen and later, job codes were issued. However, work orders were not issued. Why were these deleted,” he asked, and claimed that this would affect all the 198 councillors. Sunkenahalli councillor P.N. Sadashiva claimed that these works have been included as fresh works, based on their importance.
Earlier, Siddapura councillor M. Udayshankar expressed his objection to not being given a chance to speak. He staged a walkout, and as a parting shot said that even the BJP’s NDA Government had gone in for loans.
Several BJP councillors objected to this and pointed out that since he was staging a walkout, he should not speak.
The number of councillors attending the budget discussions saw a steady decrease since it began on Monday. With less than half the councillors attending the council, Mr. Murthy even directed the nominated councillors (who were present) to inform the others to attend the meeting as well.