Mysore Zilla Panchayat members, cutting across party lines, have criticised A.H. Vishwanath, MP, for his “intemperate remarks” against the elected body.

Mr. Vishwanath had reportedly described the zilla panchayat as “only an implementing agency” and cast aspersions on the integrity of the elected members during a review meeting last month.

At the general meeting held on Wednesday, the members adopted a resolution conveying their displeasure at the MP's comments and demanded an apology from him. If he did not do so, they threatened to obstruct the next review meeting of the Central Vigilance and Monitoring Committee headed by him.

The issue was raised by Independent member Madappa, who said the tone of Mr. Vishwanath's comments betrayed his contempt for grassroots democratic institutions. “Even we have contested elections and been elected like him. If he believes in democracy, then he should learn to respect other democratic institutions instead of belittling them,” he said.

This view was endorsed by other members, including some from his own party, the Congress.

Another member questioned Mr. Vishwanath's “competence” to represent Mysore. Speaker after speaker lambasted the MP. “The founding fathers of the zilla panchayat will be turning in their graves,” remarked one member.

“If he thinks the zilla panchayat is irrelevant, let it be abolished and we will resign,” the members said.

Panchayat president Sunita Veerappa Gowda promised to forward their reactions to Mr. Vishwanath.

Opposed

The members also opposed the closure of Kannada-medium schools with poor strength and said it would affect people in the rural areas. Leader of the Opposition D.K. Manjula Raj was joined by other members in calling for a committee to be set up to study why there were fewer students in some schools.

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