Drama at council as councillors threaten to drink phenyl

Bengaluru: An important council meeting held on Monday to discuss and implement steps for rain preparedness was derailed after three women councillors attempted to drink phenyl in the council hall alleging harassment by Congress MLA Munirathna Naidu. One of the women, Manjula Narayanaswamy, JD(S) councillor of Laggere ward, had allegedly been manhandled by Congress workers at a Chief Minister's programme in Laggere ten days back.

The scuffle began when JD(S) councillor TS Sharavana sought to know why no action had been taken against those responsible for the incident in Laggere. The councillors, Mamtha Vasudev of BJP, Asha Suresh from Congress and Ms. Narayanaswamy, complained that though ten days had passed since the incident, no action had been taken. There was high drama at the council as they threatened to drink the phenyl and other councillors rushed to the women to prise the bottles out of their hands.

Ms. Suresh and Ms. Vasudev also claimed they had faced harassment from Mr. Naidu. "If we have no safety to even go about our work, how can we ensure the safety of all women in our wards," asked Ms. Vasudev. In January last year, Ms. Suresh had threatened to resign alleging that the MLA was impeding works in her ward.

Despite the Mayor's repeated appeals, the councillors did not allow any other issue to be discussed in council and the session was adjourned. "As a woman, I understand their problems and would not want women councillors to fear for their safety. I will ensure that the matter is raised with the Chief Minister and Home Minister at a meeting on Saturday," said Ms. Padmavathi. However she added that many important matters were pending before the council including rain preparedness and tax rebate, and it was sad that they did not allow council to function.

MLA responds

Rajarajeshwarinagar MLA Muniratna rubbished the allegations levelled against him. "After the inauguration, I left the venue with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and others. It was later that I found out about the scuffle between my followers and those of Ms. Narayanaswamy," he said.

Mr. Muniratna said the allegations was "political vendetta" to defame him and he was exploring taking legal action. He sought proof for the allegations levelled against him by the three councillors. "I am only fulfilling my role as MLA. I do not interfere in their role as councillor," he added.


Property tax rebate

Though the matter could not be discussed in council, the Mayor later announced to mediapersons that the 5 percent rebate on property tax would be extended till June 15.

Regarding the following of protocol by officials, the Mayor said that the BBMP had "no need" for officials who disrepected councillors. "Such officials will be suspended if they do not follow protocol," said Ms. Padmavathi.

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 12:03:16 am |