The councillors of Left Front, Congress and BJP on Wednesday disrupted the interim budget session of Kolkata Municipal Corporation demanding resignation of Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, who was among those shown purportedly taking money in a sting operation.
As the House assembled, KMC chairperson Mala Roy refused to accept the Opposition demand that the sting video issue be immediately taken up for discussion and the Mayor be stopped from submitting the income and expenditure estimates. As Chatterjee formally tabled the interim budget estimates, Opposition councillors started a noisy protest. Senior Congress councillor Prakash Upadhyay was seen tossing fake currency notes as a mark of protest even as some TMC councillors advanced towards him to stop him. One of them snatched away the notes and pushed him. In the ruckus, the kurta of Left Front councillor Mrityunjay Chakraborty was torn.
Later, Opposition councillors walked out of the house and staged a sit-in outside the Mayor’s chamber. “It is one of the most shameful days of the KMC. All we wanted to say was that ethically, the Mayor should not have tabled the interim budget. But the ruling party councillors led by Anwar Khan and Pabitra Biswas attacked us. I was held by my collar and hit on the chest. They didn’t even spare women councillors,” Upadhyay alleged.
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Left Front chief whip Chayan Bhattacharya echoed similar sentiments, saying that the TMC councillors had used “brutal force” to “obliterate their voice of protest” and had, in the process, hurt a senior councillor such as Upadhyay. “Women councillors such as Rita Chowdhury and Bilqis Begum were targetted,” he alleged.
The Opposition demanded that CCTV cameras be installed in the chamber of Mayor so that in future all his “misdeeds are caught on camera”.
Later Opposition councillors went to New Market police station to file a formal complaint but decided against it as chairperson Mala Roy said the councillors should write to her about the matter first and she would try to resolve the issue during an all-party meeting next week.
Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, meanwhile, blamed the Opposition councillors for the entire incident. “You should have seen the way the Oppostion councillors were behaving. They were creating so much trouble in the house that it was bound to have an equal and opposite reaction,” Chatterjee said.