First time Shiv Sena corporator Snehal Ambekar was on Tuesday elected as the 75th mayor of Mumbai. She is the 7th women to be elected as the mayor of Mumbai.
A former LIC officer, Ambekar (42) had won the municipal elections from Parel was introduced to politics by her husband, Suryakant Ambekar, an active member of the Sena in Parel.
Ambekar has not been a part of any BMC's statutory committees, which take important financial decisions neither have raised any questions (6 questions) in the general body meeting in her two year's tenure.
Then, what led Shiv-Sena to decide on her candidature?
According to the state government's lottery system, Mumbai's next mayor has to be a woman from the scheduled caste (SC) or scheduled tribe (ST) category. Ambekar fulfilled all the conditions.
The Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, who shortlisted the candidates, wanted to leave no stone unturned ahead of assembly elections and hence selected a corporator from Parel (BDD chawl), a traditional Shiv-Sena bastion, which the party had lost in the 2009 assembly election to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
Currently, the Sena-BJP alliance is in power in the BMC, in which the Sena has the largest share of corporators - 75 seats and the saffron party has 31.
Of the 227 corporators, more than half i.e. 146 are first time corporators.
Sources in the opposition alleged that the leadership crisis in the Sena was reflected in the choice of candidates for mayor. All first time corporators with average performances were narrowed down by Sena, before finally deciding on Ambekar as the candidate.
With the assembly elections round the corner, many senior Shiv-Sena corporators are queuing up for assembly tickets.
Ambekar, who secured 121 votes in the 226 member House, was pitted against Congress corporator from the H-East (Bandra) ward Dr Priyatama Sawant for the post, who secured 64 votes.
BJP's Alka Kerkar, who was pitted against NCP's Powai corporator Chandan Sharma, was elected unopposed after the Congress-NCP boycotted the election to protest the entry of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in the House when the election process was going on.
After being elected as the Mayor, Snehal Ambekar said, "Clean, Green, Beautiful and Secure Mumbai are my priority."
"My immediate priorities are to build public toilets for women, and take up issues related to children's health. I will also work towards beautifying Mumbai and address matters related to garbage collection and traffic jams."