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Chaos storms BMC meet on floods

UNRULY SCENES and fracas involving Mayor Sunil Sood and corporators of both major parties were witnessed immediately after the adjournment of the BMC general council meeting today. Members hurled choicest invectives - all in the presence of senior BJP leader and local MP Kailash Joshi. The special BMC council meeting was convened for discussion on the recent floods in the City.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2006 01:34 IST

UNRULY SCENES and fracas involving Mayor Sunil Sood and corporators of both major parties were witnessed immediately after the adjournment of the BMC general council meeting today. Members hurled choicest invectives - all in the presence of senior BJP leader and local MP Kailash Joshi. The special BMC council meeting was convened for discussion on the recent floods in the City.

Ruckus began over Congress corporators’ allegations that over 3,100 people were allotted land on nullahs by then Minister for Urban Administration Babulal Gaur during the BJP Government rule in 1990-92.

Referring to the Jagatpati Committee report, Congress corporator Mohammed Sarwar alleged the BJP was responsible for the encroachments on the nullah and this had caused water logging during recent rains.

BJP corporators got up and opposed this, alleging the ruling Congress was trying to hide their failures by raking up irrelevant issues. During slogan shouting and chaos, BJP corporators showed pictures of encroachments on nullahs allegedly by Congress leaders. Due to chaos, BMC chairman Ramdayal Prajapati adjourned the meeting.

However, unruly scenes and slogan shouting continued as BJP corporators gathered around the Mayor’s chair while Congress corporators were in the well of the house.

In this melee, BJP corporator Anil Agrawal allegedly pushed Mayor Sunil Sood. In response, Sood allegedly threatened Agrawal and punched him in the stomach as the latter shouted slogans against Sood’s mentor - Union Minister Suresh Pachauri. Sood said he only stopped Agrawal, who made violent advances towards him.

On the other hand, Agrawal said the Mayor hurled choicest invectives and threatened Agrawal that he would have him beaten up at each and every route and corner of the City.

BJP corporators Asharam Sharma, Rameshwar Dixit and others said Sood also told them that MLA Umashankar Gupta should take care of his business and not act as the Mayor.

Later on, Congress corporators Amit Sharma, Sanjay Sahu, Rafiq, Gautam More and others formed a security ring around the Mayor when a scuffle broke out with BJP corporators Anil Agrawal, Pankaj Chowksey etc. Corporators of both groups even exchanged blows.

During all these proceedings, MP Kailash Joshi was also seen saving himself. Later on, his bodyguard removed the crowd of corporators around him. Efforts of senior corporators to pacify members also went unheard.

When the meeting convened about 10-minutes later, Congress corporators and Sood demanded Agrawal should apologise for his alleged misbehaviour with the Mayor. They continued shouting slogans even when the leader of the BJP corporators group Ashok Pandey was seeking the apology. Members again gathered in the well forcing the BMC chairman to adjourn the meeting again for the lunch.

During the session of after lunch, ‘Lily’ Agrawal regretted the incident and apologised for the incident at the behest of Kailash Joshi. Before, Kailash Joshi left the house, Congress whip Salim Ahmed and BJP corporator Ashok Pandey apologised to the MP for the unruly scenes in his presence.

 

Charges, counter charges hurt BMC staff
WEDNESDAY’S MEETING was demoralising for BMC staff, who worked round the clock during the flood situation in the City. Although most corporators praised Mayor Sunil Sood and the BMC administration for their efforts during the flood, some also charged them for failures and alleged instances of corruption.

A couple of BJP corporators even blamed BMC Commissioner Manish Singh, who worked through the floods and himself cautioned residents in low-lying areas all through the night of August 13-14. Some corporators of both parties, however, said BMC officials especially sanitary workers should be honoured and they also praised the Mayor’s efforts during the flood. 

Later on, some officials told Hindustan Times, corporators politicised flood related issue even though BMC carried out many works meant for the district administration like food distribution.


MP’s presence linked to scuffle
ALTHOUGH COMMOTION is quite normal, the presence of an MP in the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) general council meeting is often seen as adding spur to ruckus as was evident once again today.

Earlier in 1999, there was large-scale violence during the BMC council meeting when Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Pachauri was present.

MP Kailash Joshi was present today at the meeting that witnessed ruckus and manhandling. After Pachauri’s presence in such a meeting in 1999, this was the second occasion when any MP was present at a BMC council meeting.

During the election of BMC chairman in 1999, a special task force had severely beaten up BJP corporators, who were demanding cancellation of Congress corporator’s vote. At that time, Sunil Sood was Congress candidate for the BMC chairman’s post. District BJP president Surendranath Singh was a candidate of his party. Then District Collector S K Vashistha was chairing the meeting.

After the incident, then MP of Bhopal Uma Bharati had staged a  dharna at Polytechnic Square, which she called off after then Chief Minister Digvijay Singh announced an inquiry.