BANGALORE: Many of the just-nominated Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) councillors are moderately educated Congress workers, and not experts as stipulated under the Karnataka Municipal Corporation (KMC) Act.
According to Section 7(b)(1) of the Act, "persons having special knowledge and experience in municipal administration or matters relating to health, town planning and education” qualify for nomination as councillors.
The idea of nominating such experts as councillors is to tap into their wisdom for the good of the city. "But most nominated members are just undergraduates. These are political appointments," an official said.
Nominated members do not have any financial or voting powers. The BBMP pays them a monthly honorarium of `7,000 and a daily allowance of `400 when the council is in session, the same amount it pays elected councillors.
Of the 20 nominated members, many work for the Congress at various levels. Lakshmipathy, nominated member from Padmanabhanagar constituency, is the President of the Banashankari Block Congress Committee, while K V Patel Raju from Bommanahalli constituency is an office-bearer from the Bilekahalli block. N Amaresh (Papanna) from Chikpet constituency is the secretary of the Chikpet Block Congress Committee.
When the BJP was in power in Karnataka, it had drawn flak by nominating active party workers as councillors. They included G V Chinnagiriyappa, N G Krishnareddy, and S C Vishwanath Gowda.
After the Congress came to power in the state, it cancelled the nominations, and the nominated councillors approached the courts. The High Court dismissed their case, but they went in appeal to the Supreme Court. The case is pending there.
The Congress government has, in the meantime, nominated a new set of 20 councillors, whose term is just seven months. However, their appointment is subject to the Supreme Court’s order, a BBMP official said.
Ramalinga Reddy, Minister in charge of the district, defended the nominations. "The BJP made 100 per cent political appointments. Ours is just 50 per cent political,” he told Express.
He said some of the Congress nominees had made a name in social work. He cited the example of Sampath from BTM Layout, who he said had been doing social work for the past two years.