Karnataka: Congress-BJP verbal clash over Brand Bengaluru dominates winter session at Belagavi
During a heated Belagavi session, Congress and BJP clashed over Brand Bangalore's progress. Minister Ramalingareddy defended it with 70,000 suggestions and a CM-led committee. BJP criticized road issues, water supply, and lack of recent projects. Accusations flew over pending payments and city degradation. BJP proposed role swaps, while NA Harris urged unity for Bengaluru's improvement.
In a heated exchange during the winter session in Belagavi, Congress and BJP members engaged in a fiery debate centred around the progress of the Brand Bengaluru project, highlighting the contrasting views on the development trajectory of Bengaluru.
Minister Ramalingareddy, addressing criticism from BJP leaders regarding the Brand Bangalore initiative, defended the project's objective, emphasizing its aim to leverage expert advice for a methodical development plan. He underscored the reception of 70,000 suggestions and outlined plans to form a committee, chaired by the Chief Minister, to implement pivotal recommendations.
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However, BJP's Satish Reddy took a critical stance, pointing out prevalent issues such as road potholes and delays in metro work, asserting that no significant projects had commenced in the past six months. Reddy also raised concerns about Cauvery water diversion to Tamil Nadu, alleging infrequent water supply to Bengaluru residents.
The debate intensified as several BJP members, including Dr. CN Ashwatthnarayan, SR Vishwanath, and Muniratna, voiced dissatisfaction over the lack of development in recent months, prompting Speaker UT Khader to caution against undue criticism that may tarnish the city's reputation.
Minister Ramalingareddy retaliated by highlighting pending payments of ₹25,000 crore to contractors from the previous BJP government, citing a period when the High Court had to oversee pothole management for two years. He accused the BJP of transforming Bengaluru from the 'Garden City' to the 'Garbage City' and defended ongoing initiatives under their administration.
Muniratna raised the issue of stalled construction projects, alleging obstruction by the previous government. He cited examples of resuming work on the Eazipur flyover and the ongoing Hebbal flyover construction, emphasising the need for time to execute planned development strategies.
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Surprisingly, BJP members suggested role swaps, proposing Minister Ramalingareddy for Bengaluru Urban Development Minister and recommending D.K. Shivakumar, the current minister, for a position in Ramanagara.
The session witnessed NA Harris of the Congress proposing a shift in focus from criticism to constructive efforts for Bengaluru's betterment, urging unity among legislators.