In a stormy start to the budget meeting of the municipal corporation House on Monday, Congress councillor Raj Kanwalpreet Pal Singh Lucky advised the BJP mayor Bakshi Ram Arora and MC commissioner Pardeep Sabharwal to go and beg for money and placed two bowls before the duo.
"You (the office-bearers) and other councillors have ruined the financial health of the MC. As a result, there is no money with any councillor. You are dependent totally on loans and grants… if you cannot generate funds, it is better that you beg for money and make use of these bowls," an angry Lucky told the mayor and commissioner, as he placed the bowls at the table before them.
Before this unexpected advice to go begging emerged, other councilors, including those from the SAD-BJP combine, were vocal in their criticism of the office-bearers for poor civic upkeep of the city. Several times, the mayor and the commissioner were pointedly asked tough questions.
However, the act of placing the begging bowls drew vociferous objection from the BJP and its councillor Rajesh Honey threw the bowls on the floor.
Later, all other councillors agreed that Lucky's actions were tantamount to disrespect of the House and that proceedings to disqualify him from te House must be started.
At this, Lucky and the three other Congress councillors in the House walked out of the House, shouting slogans in favour of the Congress party.
Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora termed the incident unfortunate and said, "The House will soon write to the government to disqualify the Congress councillor."
Discontent across party lines
Even as the day, when Rs 364-crore budget, was overshadowed by the 'bowl episode', the city's crumbling civic facilities were discussed and raised even by the SAD and the BJP councillors in the House, with several members imploring the mayor and the commissioner to get cracking on the problems plaguing the city.
Deputy mayor and Akali leader Avinash Jolly was first to raise the issue of poor sanitation conditions in the city. "The SAD-BJP councillors were elected around three years ago. However, it is very embarrassing to see the pathetic condition of the city."
BJP councillor Meenu Sehgal added, "Recently when our Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the city, the routes through which he was to cross wore a very a clean look. We were praying that the PM could have gone through the entire city for it to have got a facelift."