With Mayor H C Kalyan playing truant, a farce was enacted in the municipal corporation on Wednesday when the senior deputy mayor took the chair and presided over a meeting where all agenda items for the consideration of the general house were “passed’’.
Only BJP and SAD members and five nominated councillors were present. The Congress councillors were protesting outside the office of Chief Engineer Mukesh Anand. The mayor was also there.
The meeting was scheduled to start at 11 am, but the mayor did not arrive till 11.20 am, leading to resentment among the councillors present. Prompted by her colleagues of the BJP, Senior Deputy Mayor Heera Negi took the chair and started the meeting.
Municipal Commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh was not present in the House and was dealing with the protesters outside. MC Secretary Rajiv Gupta left the House. Additional Commissioner Sunil Bhatia announced that the meeting had been adjourned. On this, all officers went out.
The infuriated councillors demanded that Bhatia should be suspended for his conduct, as he had no authority to adjourn the House. They also passed a resolution against him.
Thereafter, the “proceedings’’ began. Addressing the councillors, Negi said, “Two firemen laid down their lives on duty during the fire in Sector 17. It is sad that the mayor, commissioner and secretary do not have the time to listen to the issue. Dirty politics is being played. What some councillors have done is shameful. It is an insult to the House.”
A section of the nominated councillors criticised the disruption of the meeting and the conduct of officials and other councillors. They were of the opinion that even if the Congress was holding a protest, the mayor should have started the meeting.
The councillors discussed the agenda for providing insurance cover to the firemen, arrangement for fire safety equipment, regular in-house training, appointment on compassionate grounds and compensation to those who lose their lives on duty. The agenda items for development work were “passed” before the meeting ended.
Later, the mayor said, “The meeting could not be held. Councillors were holding a protest in the MC building. I had to resolve the issue. I asked the additional commissioner to convey to the House that the meeting has been adjourned. It is within the powers of the mayor to do that. The senior deputy mayor could have discussed the issue with me. It is an unfortunate incident that has been seen for the first time.”
Section 58 of the Municipal Act says that the senior deputy mayor can chair a meeting in the absence of the mayor. If both are not present, then the deputy mayor can perform the duty.
However, the Congress councillors said that this was applicable only when the mayor authorised the senior deputy mayor.