She contested and won the municipal corporation (MC) elections on the Congress ticket in 2011 and also remained mayor for a one-year term. Three years later, she joined the Bharatiya Janata Party with the hope to contest assembly elections in her native state, Haryana. By 2016, first-time councillor Raj Bala Malik is known more for her sense of dressing and love for plants than for any significant work in her ward.
The ward comprises Sectors 1 to 11, considered to be the elite and elitist part of Chandigarh.
Residents feel public toilets and the garbage-lifting system need to be improved, though Malik did add some more greenery to the ward.
As mayor, she has achievements to show, though. It was during her tenure that the multi-level parking in Sector 17 got the nod and also the work on expanding the MC building started.
In her ward, she can remember only one major work, that is the widening and beautification of Vigyan Path (from Punjab Raj Bhawan to PEC University). It includes a pedestrian path on either side of the road, benches, and landscaping.
As for her MC House participation and any controversies, she says that she has followed this mantra: “Keep control on your tongue and speak only when it is required.” But she has her share of controversies — as mayor she was criticized for distribution of free parking passes, giving away 406 while she was entitled to five! Those were all cancelled when the issue rocked the House.
She is known to be dedicated in her collection of diamond jewellery and Pashmina shawls, but politics happened by chance, she says. “I never plan anything in life, and I accept things as they come.”
Married at 17, she is now a mother of three daughters and two sons. She did her higher education after marriage. A law graduate, she has also done a master’s degree and two postgraduate diplomas. But it was not that politics was “unknown” to Malik, whose husband is also a lawyer.
“I come from Bahu-Akbar-Pur village in Rohtak district, where politics runs in my blood. In my maternal family and among my in-laws, we have a lot of political activity, with our relatives holding important positions.” Her daughter is married to the son of former Haryana Vidhan Sabha speaker Raghuvir Singh Kadian.
Tomorrow: Ward 2, Saurabh Joshi