COIMBATORE: It was a day of frayed tempers at the Coimbatore Corporation Council on Monday. A senior councillor hurled a mike on the floor, another termed Mayor R. Venkatachalam’s style of functioning irresponsible and almost got evicted and some others protested against the lack of staff to clean up their wards.
Discussions on a private trust denying land for the Corporation’s school turned a bit violent when Communist Party of India (Marxist) member C. Padmanabhan hurled a mike on the floor to express his resentment over unconvincing and inadequate explanation from officials on the issue.
Mr. Padmanabhan, who is the Chairman of the Corporation’s North Zone, asked an Assistant Commissioner why the Corporation agreed to vacate the land when it was provided to the trust by the Government for public purposes or activities of charity.
Annoyed that he did not get a convincing reply to a question as to why the Corporation readily agreed to stop using the land that was actually not owned by the trust, Mr. Padmanabhan grabbed the mike on his table and hurled it on the floor.
This sudden burst of anger on the part of a senior councillor, elected for the third consecutive time to the Council since 1996, took Mayor R. Venkatachalam and members of almost all the parties by surprise.
After inspecting the site along with officials and a group of councillors, even as the Council meeting went on, Mr. Padmanabhan expressed regret over his act and also offered to pay the cost of the damaged mike.
Some councillors said this was the first time a mike was hurled by a senior councillor, especially one who headed a zone and conducted zone-level meetings with councillors and officials.
Leader of the Opposition V.N. Udayakumar and Mayor R. Venkatachalam told Mr. Padmanabhan that his views on the issue were justified, but not the act of causing damage to the property of the Council.
Only less than an hour prior to this incident, Mr. Udayakumar sought to know what action could be initiated against All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam member P. Rajkumar for tearing up a copy of Council resolutions at the previous meeting.
Later, Mr. Rajkumar’s offer to stick together the torn pieces of the resolution copy, just as Mr. Padmanabhan had offered to bear the cost of the mike’s repair, set off peals of laughter.
CPI (M) member S. Velumurugan’s remark that the Mayor was functioning in an irresponsible way set off a clash between him and the Congress members. Councillors of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam joined in the protest over his remark.
When the Mayor asked Mr. Velmurugan to cut his speech short to enable others also to speak, the councillor complained of always being denied time to raise key issues in the Council.
When the Mayor asked Congress Floor Leader R.S. Thirumugham to speak, an upset Mr. Velmurugan alleged murder of democracy in the Council. His continued assault on the Mayor led to Mr. Thirumugham demanding eviction if the CPI (M) member did not get back to his seat.
The Mayor then ordered that Mr. Velmurugan be evicted. When the police entered the Council to remove the member, Mr. Padmanabhan oppose it. Mr. Velmurugan said he had described only Mayor’s way of functioning as irresponsible, but had not called the Mayor “useless”. Peace was restored after Mr. Velmurugan said that he was withdrawing his remark if it was wrong.