HYDERABAD: Tensions flared at the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) head office on Wednesday with BJP and Congress corporators staging a protest in response to the abruptly short GHMC council meeting. The meeting, chaired by Mayor Gadwal Vijayalaxmi, was adjourned prematurely, sparking protests from the opposition corporators.
The proceedings, which commenced around 11 AM, concluded before 2 PM, giving time for only a fraction of the proposed 25 questions up for discussion. This triggered the ire of a majority of corporators who had expected more comprehensive discussions.
The opposition’s dissatisfaction with the mayor’s handling of the session led to BJP and Congress corporators staging a sit-in dharna within the mayor’s chamber, accusing her of stifling their voices. They also accused the Mayor of obstructing the discussion of public issues within the Council. Amidst a flurry of security personnel, the opposition protest continued for about 40 minutes; the corporators denouncing Vijayalaxmi with slogans of “Mayor down down.”
They also criticised her for failing to endorse a resolution for the regularisation of services for GHMC contracts and outsourcing workers, despite unanimous political support for this move.
Media coverage of the was also restricted, as reporters were barred from the media gallery within the Council Hall. This provoked journalists to question the Mayor’s actions. She remained inaccessible, proceeding directly to the Council Hall from her chambers. As media coverage was curtailed, the civic body provided a live feed of the proceedings from Panwar Hall within the GHMC headquarters, leaving limited space for media personnel.
Efforts by some opposition corporators to lay siege to the Mayor’s chamber on the seventh floor were thwarted by police intervention. The opposition corporators then made their way to the ground floor where they continued their protest against the Mayor’s lack of commitment to addressing the city’s civic predicaments.
BJP corporators said that while the Council was a platform for raising public issues, certain members were using it to sing praises of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and MAUD Minister KT Rama Rao. They said that the council sessions while being conducted with public money, did not discuss civic problems.
Police then took the protesting corporators into custody and shifted them to the nearest police station. Prior to the meeting’s commencement, Congress corporators staged a protest in front of the GHMC office, calling for the regularisation of contract workers’ services.