BENGALURU: After the fiasco that was this year’s Kempegowda awards ceremony, BBMP has sought permission from the government to set up a committee to select the awardees for next year. Ruling party leader in the BBMP Council M Shivaraju has written to Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara asking for approval to constitute a committee to select the recipients of the awards.
The letter states that this year’s award ceremony on September 1 was criticised by many and has defamed the award. Screening of candidates will ensure that only those deserving get the award, the latter added.
In a recent meeting, Bengaluru Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun was advised by former Mayors to reduce the number of recipients of the award.
Over 500 people were given the awards this year. About 278 awardees were initially announced by the BBMP, but the ceremony was twice deferred owing to the deaths of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi. The number went up to a whopping 530 with names reportedly added even when the ceremony was going on.
The award ceremony, held at the BBMP Head Office, was chaotic, with awardees forced to jostle for space. Several awardees did not receive one or more of the three — the memento, the cash prize and the award. The reason reportedly for the high number of awardees was that many were given based on lobbying by councillors and politicians.
Anil Shetty, an activist, has filed a PIL in a court against the way the awards were handled. He said one of the awardees had served two years in jail for a double murder, while another is a cameraman for minister D K Shivakumar. “Another recipient, Nagesh Yadav, is a former BBMP official, while KPCC workers and even an astrologer have been given the award,” he said.
Shetty added that some councillors and politicians had lobbied for people to be given the award. He claimed that the ruling party leader Shivaraju, who has written to Parameshwara to form a panel, lobbied for 23 people. Shetty claimed the BBMP had spent Rs 1.5-2 crore for the awards.