This election season, a number of areas across the city will see all-women battles.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has reserved 50%, or 114, of the 227 electoral wards for women. This, combined with the split of the Shiv Sena-BJP and the Congress-NCP, means the number of women campaigning for power has risen phenomenally.
The Vikhroli-Bhandup-Powai (S ward) belt and Malad (P/North) has more than 100 women candidates — 10 of 13 electoral wards in S ward and 10 of 17 wards in P/North have been reserved for women. The R/South (Kandivili) and K/West (Andheri) have eight reserved wards. In south Mumbai’s D ward (Malabar Hill, Kemps Corner), four of six wards are for women, while both wards in B ward (Masjid Bunder, Dongri) are reserved. The reservation exercise was done through a lottery by BMC. The women contesting said it has opened up new avenues for them.
Sandhya Tripathi, a BJP candidate from Bhandup and the daughter-in-law of former corporator Harishchandra Tripathi, said, “Women from our communities do not even step out on their own. With this reservation, I will be contesting for the first time, which in itself is a great opportunity.” Sitting corporator Anisha Mazgaonkar from Bhandup said women living in slum areas are more comfortable talking to her about their problems. “It has been beneficial for me as a woman corporator here.”
The MNS has given tickets to Mazgaonkar and Vaishnavi Sarfare to contest from wards 114 and 115 respectively, even though both wards fall in the open category. Similarly, Sena leader Trushna Vishwasrao and BJP leaders Ritu Tawde and Jyoti Alvani will also contest from open wards usually given to men.
Yugandhara Saleka, a Sena corporator from south Mumbai pointed out the reservation has given women who have worked at the local level a chance to contest. “There are a lot of women who work at the shakha level and solve citizens’ problems, such as water and sanitation.”
In some wards, however, the women contesting are relatives of corporators who had to give up seats after the reservation.Current Sena MLA Ashok Patil’s wife Meenakshi and NCP corporator Dhananjay Pisal’s wife Bharti will contest from Bhandup. Congress corporator Mohsin Haider’s wife Meher and ex-MLA Ashok Jadhav’s daughter Alpa will contest from Andheri.