The city municipal corporation is all set to wear a new look, with women corporators occupying at least half of the seats. This year’s civic elections were the first ones in which 50% of the electoral wards were reserved for women.
Women candidates who emerged victorious on Friday were excited about their new role and promised to change the way the city was being administered.
“Women participation will change for the better the way things work in the BMC,’ said outgoing mayor Shraddha Jadhav, who was re-elected to the civic body. A confident Jadhav had contested an open seat for her second term in the BMC and managed to win, albeit with a slender margin of 280 votes. She defeated Congress veteran Ravi Raja and MNS strongman Sudhir Jadhav.
By virtue of their numbers, women are likely to be appointed to several key positions in the BMC. However, several senior women candidates like Rajul Patel and Jyoti Bhonsale were defeated in the elections, making observers fear if there are enough experienced women in the corporation to handle key positions. A huge chunk of the women candidates elected on Friday have no past experience of the functioning of the civic body.
First-time corporator Pallavi Mungekar said she was willing to learn the ropes. “My husband has been a Congress leader for the past 25 years. His experience will help me make mature decisions,” Mungekar said. Cases such as these have experts worried if women corporators would be reduced to mere puppets controlled by their politically-savvy husbands or family members. “That is not true in my case,” said Jyoti Alavani, a former students’ activist who was elected as an independent corporator. “Women are honest, efficient and can multi-task better than men. I want to ensure people who have reposed trust in me are not let down,” Alavani said.
Shiv Sena’s Yamini Jadhav, another first time corporator, said she was confident that a women corporator can serve her ward well.