Fiasco over National Anthem in NMC’s GBM shows Mayor ‘in bad light’

Nagpur: A dark chapter was scripted in the history of Nagpur Municipal Corporation. A fiasco over National Anthem during the General Body Meeting of NMC held on Thursday showed the Mayor Nanda Jichkar in bad light. Owing to shabby affairs, the National Anthem was sung twice at the end of the meeting. When Mayor did not stand up during National Anthem first time, pandemonium prevailed in the House with Opposition BSP, Congress and other parties accusing the Mayor of insulting the National Anthem. On the other hand, the Ruling members demanded action against those who started singing the National Anthem before the scheduled time.

The General Body Meeting, adjourned abruptly on Wednesday following absence of Ruling Party Leader Sandeep Joshi, was again held on Thursday at Town Hall in Mahal. With brute majority on its side, ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership transacts nominal business listed on the agenda in a hurry.

Today on Thursday, Congress members raised some contentious issues. However, not satisfied with the replies doled out by the administration, they suddenly stood up and started singing National Anthem. Respecting the National Anthem, all members, except the Mayor, stood in attention. Seeing Mayor sitting, the Opposition BSP, Congress and other parties strongly condemned the Mayor and created uproar. On the other hand, the Ruling members countered the protest by demanding action as per the provisions of law against those who started singing National Anthem even before the scheduled time. The fiasco over National Anthem scripted a dark chapter in the history of the civic body.

The sordid episode started when Congress member Kamalesh Chaudhary raised the issue of temporary vehicle drivers in NMC and regularising them as per court orders. Chaudhary said that the NMC has lost its case in court three times but still it is not providing justice to the vehicle drivers. Replying to the issue, Additional Municipal Commissioner Sheikh Aziz informed Chaudhary that NMC has moved Supreme Court. The Mayor Jichkar and former Mayor Pravin Datke, intervening in the matter, said that the issue could be amicably resolved if compromise formula including no demand for back wages is hammered out. In the meantime, Health Committee Chairman Vicky Kukreja raised a question whether a discussion on matter pending in court could be held in NMC House. On this, Sheikh Aziz said that debate on court matter is not proper.

Not satisfied with the reply, the Opposition members started uproar. The enraged Chaudhary even ripped apart the agenda papers and hurled them over Mayor. In the meantime, Congress Corporators started singing the National Anthem. Taken aback by the development, others present in the House also joined the Congress members. On the other hand, Mayor Jichkar was also standing up to sing the National Anthem but was suggested to remain seated by one of her assistants. Subsequently, the Mayor was found sitting during National Anthem. Accusing the Mayor of insulting the National Anthem, entire Opposition walked out of the House.

The senior BJP Corporator Dayashankar Tiwari slammed the Opposition members for singing the National Anthem before the scheduled time and termed the action as violation of code of conduct. Datke said that the offending members should be served notices and tender apology. If they did not apologise, their membership should be cancelled, he demanded.

The BSP Group Leader Vaishali Narnavre condemned the Mayor who was seated during singing of National Anthem.

At the end of the General Body Meeting, the National Anthem was sung ‘officially’ and the meeting was adjourned indefinitely.