Bengaluru's lone woman MLA Sowmya Reddy of the Congress on Monday claimed that the BJP government in Karnataka was politicising the development works in Bengaluru by not including Congress legislators in the decision-making process.
Referring to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa's inspection of Bengaluru's IT corridors on Sunday, Jayanagar MLA Sowmya Reddy claimed that the inspections were done in the presence of BJP leaders and BBMP officials, including mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun.
"Congress MLAs have not been invited to meetings related to Bengaluru's development. No Congress MLA was involved in the inspection tour on Sunday and this is unfortunate because the BJP should not come in the way of development in this way. The Chief Minister is leading the state and not just BJP legislators and corporators. Are they saying that issues like potholes and garbage are only in constituencies represented by the BJP?" Jayanagar MLA Sowmya Reddy said.
She further pointed to an August 14 meeting chaired by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa in which BJP leaders from Bengaluru are seen huddled in a meeting.
Sowmya's claims were reiterated by Shanthinagar MLA NA Harris. "The Chief Minister should call us since we are also representatives of the people of our constituencies. We should be asking why Congress MLAs were not informed (about the inspection) since we are also responsible for the civic amenities of the city," he told TNM.
Responding to the claims, BJP spokesperson Malavika Avinash said, "For problems relating to Bengaluru's civic administration, Ms. Sowmya Reddy should contact BBMP Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun, who is leading a Congress-JD(S) coalition in the BBMP Council".
Sowmya further added that there is a lack of women representation in the city's administration. "There is one woman MLA and in the inspection tour. Apart from the mayor, all others were men,” she said.
However, Malavika points out that women are represented in Bengaluru's civic administration, particularly in the BBMP council, where there is a 50% reservation for women. In addition, either the mayor or the deputy mayor is a woman.
"In terms of civic administration of Bengaluru, 50% of councillors in the BBMP are women and the mayor is also a woman. So, where is the question of women representation coming from?" Malavika asked.
But according to Sowmya, it is not a question of representation but whether the women are able to take decisions independently. "While women are represented in terms of numbers, how many of these women work independently?" she asks.
The inspection by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Sunday focused on the city's cleanliness, traffic woes and infrastructure, particularly in the IT corridors.