ARE WOMAN corporators puppets in the hands of their relatives? Do they have an individual identity? Who takes major decisions for these women corporators?
The answer to all these questions comes from the residents of the ward these corporators once headed and the LMC officials who have been closely monitoring their working style. “They have yet to come out of the kitchen,” says a resident R.S Yadav.
“Most of them are remote-controlled by their husbands; brothers and other relatives,” a senior official of the Lucknow Municipal Corporation alleges.
According to additional municipal commissioner AC Sinha, most of the women corporators are not confident enough to work independently. Often their relatives take decisions on their behalf. They always accompany them whenever they come to LMC House.
“Their relatives guide them in their work. About 80 per cent of women corporators are just working under the shadow of their relatives. Some of them even don’t reside in the city. I know nearly four such corporators who are married and reside outside their ward. The work of their wards is carried out by their relatives. These corporators only show their faces when the session is on.
Sometimes even its hard for us to identify them and allow them entry inside the house.”
Corporator Nagendra Singh Chauhan, who also looks after the work of his sister’s ward says, “What’s the harm in looking after the work of my sister’s ward. I am there to take care of residents’ problems.”
Suresh Chauhan, another woman corporator, says, “I would not have been able to do the development works in my ward without the help of my husband. He is the one who runs with the files in various departments.” There are some corporators who are fielding their wives as candidates but are not ready to give them freedom to act on their own.
Atul Yadav Bantu former corporator from Swami Ramtirth ward says, “This time my wife would be contesting the elections but she will not go out, I would be looking after her work as I know all the tricks of the trade.” Nearly 35 corporators have fielded their wives as candidates. Most of them are confident of their victory, too. But are they really going to give freedom to their wives to act on their own? Only the time will tell.
The system of 33 per cent reservation has surely brought the women into the LMC House but the real political rights are still eluding them as most of them are still rubber stamp corporators.
“There were 45 woman corporators in the last House. During last five year there have been 32 meetings of the Lucknow Municipal Corporation House. During 14 such meetings, the number of women corporators has ranged between 6 and 22.
That’s less than 50 per cent of total strength of women corporators.” On June 6, 2003 in the general session of the LMC house, the women corporators were present in maximum numbers 38.