Has the city lost out on another chance of having a development-oriented and dynamic mayor?
Lack of options and political compulsions have resulted in the choice for the post being narrowed down to three political greenhorns — all first-time corporators with an unremarkable performance so far.
Although nominations will officially be filed between Friday and Tuesday, party insiders say the Shiv Sena is toying between Snehal Ambekar from Parel, Bharti Bawdane of Vikhroli and Yamini Jadhav from Mazgaon, none of whom have prior administrative experience. All three were introduced to politics by their husbands, who are active members of the Sena.
However, data sourced by Praja, an organisation working towards bringing about more accountability in our elected representatives, said that the performance of all three leaves much to be desired.
According to the state government’s lottery system, the city’s next mayor has to be a woman from the scheduled caste (SC) or scheduled tribe (ST) category.
Neither Ambekar, Bawdane or Jadhav have been a part of any of the BMC’s statutory committees, which take important financial decisions, and Bawdane and Ambekar have rarely raised questions in the general body meeting in their two year tenure.
Mayors are voted to power by the corporators in t he Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Activists and citizens alike have objected to the like of powers given to a Mayor – who is more of a nominal head – but the city has rarely seen strong-willed people, who could have changed that, occupying the post.
Internationally, a city Mayor occupies a position of both power and prestige.
The choice of candidates for the ongoing mayoral race reflects a leadership crisis in the Sena, sources in the opposition alleged.
The Sena-BJP combine is in power in the BMC and the Sena has the largest share of corporators, but few of them are experienced.
Also, with state polls around the corner, the few seasoned corporators are queuing up for assembly tickets.
“A mayor’s post requires a strong and skilled person with adequate administrative experience. Since the mayor has the power to take important policy decisions, an experienced person is must,” said Milind Mhaske, project director, Praja Foundation.
A source from the Sena, however, said no names were finalised yet. “The party chief, Uddhav Thackeray is yet to shortlist the candidate for the post.”