Portraits of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and former Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party founder N.T. Rama Rao hung alongside the portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar by the TDP in the municipal council hall stirred controversy in the general body meeting on Saturday.

Taking objection, Opposition members from the YSR Congress Party demanded the portrait of former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy also be displayed, leading to disruption of the meeting in the afternoon session.

Irked by the protests, Mayor and chairman of the council Koneru Sreedhar suspended corporators Sk. Beejani Bi, Pala Jhansi Lakshmi and B. Sandhya Rani. The corporation reportedly spent close to Rs. 1 lakh on the portraits.

Objecting to the suspension, the other YSRCP corporators boycotted the session. Mr. Sreedhar expressed ire over video journalists capturing the protests and asked them to leave the hall. They later boycotted the session in protest against the Mayor’s remarks. Mr. Sreedhar also asked S. Saritha and A. Venkata Jaya Lakshmi (TDP) to calm down as they argued with each other over an issue.

Municipal Commissioner J. Nivas later said there were no rules against the placement of the Chief Minister’s portrait and the possibility of hanging a former CM’s portrait would be studied.

Encroachment of land

In the morning session, the council discussed encroachment of the VMC land. Mr. Sreedhar sought details from officials the over-allotment of corporation land to government departments without proper paperwork. He said the land where a foundation stone was laid for a police station on Friday belonged to the VMC and no permission was taken from the authorities concerned.

Corporator N. Bala Swami sought action against hawkers in Besant Road. He complained that they were not actually hawkers but owned several shops there.

TDP corporator Ch. Gandhi sought allocation of VMC’s land in Brindhavan Colony to archer V. Jyothi Surekha for whom the government had announced 500 sq. yards. Another corporator of the same party objected to it reminding the council that the archer had also applied for the same in Guntur and her nativity was to be confirmed first.

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