THERE WAS more of ‘swearing-at’ than ‘swearing-in’ at the Jhandiwala Park where Mayor Dinesh Sharma was administered the oath of office on Tuesday.
Chaos reigned supreme at the 40-minute function, which was turned into a show of strength by the corporators of BJP, Samajwadi Party and the Congress much to the chagrin of police and administration officials.
What with no particular party commanding an absolute majority in the 110-member House, the pandemonium was perhaps an indication of the stormy days ahead for the Lucknow Municipal Corporation. So if Mayor Sharma chose to wear his party leanings on the sleeve by donning a saffron robe, the Congress corporators wore Gandhi caps and resorted to ‘Gandhigiri.’ With no such ready-made party symbol at hand, the SP corporators simply chose to rely on their lungpower. Waving party flags, they shouted down their jubilant BJP counterparts. The verbal duel that ensued gradually developed into frenzy that at one point of time threatened peace inside the ‘pandal.’
Earlier, Dr Sharma, apparently a stickler for time (or was it the auspicious moment predetermined by a pundit?), arrived with much fanfare at the venue on the dot (5 pm) driven in a black horse-drawn carriage from the BJP party office on Vidhan Sabha Marg. While Keshri Nath Tripathi, Lalji Tandon and Kalraj Mishra accompanied him, outgoing mayor Dr SC Rai slipped in unnoticed in a private Santro car.
After repeated attempts to restore some semblance of order failed, additional municipal commissioner (III) AC Sinha finally read out the notification constituting the new House after which Commissioner RK Mittal administered the oath of office to Sharma, who in turn sworn in the corporators. This was followed by the presentation of the customary mace to the Mayor by Municipal Commissioner Ram Buddh Maurya. Without bothering for such niceties, however, the LMC employees union presented its charter of demand on the occasion.