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Councillors come to blows

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OPPOSITION: Members of the BJP arguing with Mayor Vijaya Arun at the Mangalore City Corporation Council meeting on Tuesday.
OPPOSITION: Members of the BJP arguing with Mayor Vijaya Arun at the Mangalore City Corporation Council meeting on Tuesday.

Special Correspondent

Mangalore City Corporation meeting adjourned amid chaos

MANGALORE: For the fifth time in a row since October 2006, the Mangalore City Corporation Council was adjourned amid chaos on Tuesday. The council witnessed unruly scenes with some ruling and Opposition members exchanging blows .

The Opposition members demanded that Mayor Vijaya Arun should not give the council's assent to one of the items on the agenda, which was passed in the January meeting. They said that the contract to manage the city's streetlight system should not be handed to the contractor who had secured it allegedly by bribing higher authorities.

The Opposition leader M. Shankar Bhat said that the agenda did not have the council's approval as it was passed without discussion.

Mr. Bhat produced a telegram sent from the Karnataka High Court to the City Corporation Commissioner which said that the finalisation of bid in respect to the tender (number 27/200607, dated October 16, 2006) would be subject to the result of a writ appeal.

`Most expensive'

Mr. Bhat said the contract awarded to the Andhra Pradesh-based contractor was the most expensive contract given by the MCC for operation and management of the streetlight system in the city. The corporation would incur a loss of Rs. 1.10 crore because of the contract, he charged.

When Ms. Arun did not allow discussion on the issue stating that the agenda had been passed, Mr. Bhat said that her persistence in not allowing a discussion on the matter had placed her integrity under question.

At this remark, the ruling benches joined the argument. Former Mayors K. Diwakar, M. Shashidhar Hegde and Abdul Aziz, and Congress member Vishwanath supported the Mayor's stand on the issue.

The BJP members walked to the Mayor's podium and raised slogans against her.

The agenda for the meeting was passed without discussions.

The BJP members tried to snatch the copy of the agenda from chief whip Krishnappa Mendon. They shoved away women councillors who tried to stop them from going near Mr. Mendon.

The members clashed and the Mayor adjourned the meeting. The Opposition members told The Hindu that this was a fit case for the Government to supersede the council.

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