Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC’s) general body meeting had to be adjourned Thursday following a ruckus by corporators.
The meeting, which was scheduled to discuss the annual budget for the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport undertaking (BEST), lasted for less than 20 minutes before it was adjourned by Mayor Sunil Pabhu in protest against GVK and the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), the agencies are responsible for major infrastructure projects of Terminal T2 at Mumbai airport and the Sahar Elevated Road, respectively. Both projects are to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday. BJP and Sena corporators were angry since the mayor had not been invited for the inauguration ceremony.
Just as the meeting began, corporators Yashodhar Phanse (Shiv Sena) and Waqarunisa Ansari (Congress) raised notices of motion simultaneously.
While Phanse wished to discuss the inauguration issue, Ansari, carrying on from the previous general body meeting, demanded a discussion on the alleged sexual harrassment of a woman corporator. A news report had claimed that the phone number of the corporator had been posted on the wall of a BMC toilet.
“I wish to take up the harassment issue, but we must first verify if the news report is true. Once the investigation is over, this issue can be discussed. Since Phanse is the Leader of the House, he should be given priority to speak,” the mayor said.
This led to members from Opposition parties to shout slogans against the mayor’s “insensitivity” to women. Women corporators from the BJP, too, joined the opposition.
In return, Shiv Sena and BJP corporators also started shouting slogans in support of Prabhu.
At one point, Prabhu said to the opposition, “Quiet please, I have been insulted here.”
Amid the din, BJP corporator Dilip Patel, reaching for a hand-held mic for louder effect, demanded that the BMC cut water supply to the airport’s new Terminal T2 for insulting the mayor.
Finally, the mayor said, “Upon the request of corporator Dilip Patel, I too feel this meeting should be adjourned.”