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Women power set to rule civic body

The civic elections scheduled in February 2012 will herald a new chapter for women politicians, as out of the total 227 wards, they will occupy half, or perhaps even more of it.

mumbai Updated: Aug 11, 2011 01:24 IST
Bhavika Jain

The civic elections scheduled in February 2012 will herald a new chapter for women politicians, as out of the total 227 wards, they will occupy half, or perhaps even more of it.

From 93 seats now, the number of female corporators is expected to increase to 114, and may be more if they also win from seats in the open category.

After the announcement of the 13 reserved wards for the scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST) candidates for the civic elections on August 6, the formal lottery for the remaining seats was held on Wednesday.

Prominent male corporators, including standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale of the Shiv Sena, BJP group leader Ashish Shelar, NCP group leader Niyaz Ahmed Vanu, improvement committee chairman Bhalchandra Shirsat, have been forced to abandon their wards. So, in order to retain their position in the civic body, they will now have to contest from other wards.

The division may also severely affect the electoral prospect of male candidates even if they decide to change their ward. It also means new civic leaders are likely to emerge after the upcoming civic elections.

With 114 out of the 227 seats reserved, the number of women corporators will increase substantially; this will mean the civic body’s focus would be on women’s issues.

However, the new number game could lead to a tussle between the alliance partners for an amicable seat sharing as those who have lost their wards due to reservation, will switch to neighboring wards. This could lead to friction between allies such as the Shiv Sena-BJP over seat sharing arrangement.

Women corporators, however, are a happy lot. “Women candidates are in for a win-win situation. A lot of women party workers, who didn’t get a chance earlier, will now be able to contest,” said Rajul Patel, Shiv Sena corporator, who lost her ward to OBC reservation. Wards of mayor Shraddha Jadhav and deputy mayor Shailaja Girkar have been declared for open category. However, many feel that in order to retain the seats, corporators might also field women family members.