Congress councillors up in arms over allocations made under SFC grant
Unruly scenes were witnessed during the general body meeting of the city corporation, convened to approve the action plan for the State Finance Commission (SFC) Grant for 2010–11, here on Saturday. Enraged BJP members were seen throwing chairs in the meeting hall and damaging the furniture after taking exception to the Congress councillors snatching the microphone kept on Mayor Sunanda Rajaram's table, toppling the Mayor and Deputy Mayor's tables and chairs, and preventing Ms. Rajaram from leaving the meeting hall after the adjournment of the meeting.
Even after the adjournment of the meeting and the Mayor leaving the meeting hall, BJP councillors and those supporting them, and the Congress councillors jostled with one another and involved in heated arguments over the allocations made under the Rs. 13.84-crore SFC grant.
A few BJP councillors, including Vishal Dargi, were seen shouting that the Congress councillors had abused the Mayor, who belongs to a Scheduled Caste community and that a case would be booked under the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the Congress councillors. However, other BJP councillors pacified Mr. Dargi.
A visibly shaken Mayor, who returned to the meeting hall after some order was restored and the majority of the Congress councillors left the meeting hall, announced the suspension of Opposition leader Abdul Rehman Munna, Mirza Khasim Baig and Syed Ahmed belonging to the Congress. Ms. Rajaram announced that the three members were suspended for two meetings and said that she would revoke the suspension only if they presented themselves before her and offered an unconditional apology.
The trouble started soon after the meeting began with the Congress members protesting against the manner in which the action plan had been prepared. They alleged that the majority of the funds had been allocated to wards represented by the BJP and Congress rebels and independents who supported the BJP. The Congress councillors demanded that the Mayor review the action plan and allocate funds equally to all councillors.
Even as the Congress councillors were protesting, the Mayor abruptly announced that the action plan had been approved, leading to an uproar. The Congress councillors who surrounded the Mayor's table snatched the microphone fixed on the table and physically prevented the Mayor from leaving the meeting hall. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor's table and chair were also toppled.
The BJP members defended the action plan and said that it had been prepared as per the guidelines and the Congress members should not complain, as their party had also done the same thing earlier.
“This is our chance to return the favour. There is nothing wrong in the allocation of more funds to the wards represented by BJP, as we are the ruling party in the corporation,” a senior councillor said.