Lucknow to get first woman mayor in 100 years
Syed Nabiullah, a barrister from Allahabad, became the first Indian to be elected as the chairperson (mayor) of the municipal ward in Lucknow in 1917.lucknow Updated: Dec 01, 2017 12:10 IST
History will be created on Friday when the city of nawabs, Lucknow, will get its first-ever woman mayor in 100 years.
Syed Nabiullah, a barrister from Allahabad, became the first Indian to be elected as the chairperson (mayor) of the municipal ward in Lucknow in 1917, after the UP Municipality Act came into force in 1916.
However, the Lucknow mayor’s seat was reserved for women this year and all the parties fielded women candidates. Nineteen candidates are in fray for the mayor’s post.
- Feb 1960 A leading advocate of Lucknow Raj Kumar Srivastava became the first mayor of Lucknow post independence. This was an indirect system of election, said Puri.
- 1974-1989 There was no municipal election in the entire UP. In 1989, the municipal elections (indirect) were held and Dr Dauji Gupta became the mayor of Lucknow.
- 1994 Things changed when, in the light of 74th Constitutional Amendment, the municipal corporation adopted direct mayoral elections.
- 1995 The first direct mayoral elections were held and Dr SC Rai became the first mayor of Lucknow to be elected by the public.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded Sanyukta Bhatia as its mayoral candidate, Samajwadi Party (SP) has fielded Meera Vardhan, AAP is backing Priyanka Maheshwari, Congress has fielded Prema Awasthi while the Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) candidate is Bulbul Godiyal.
Citizens, especially women, say it’s time to change the history of Lucknow. “We are all set to welcome our new woman mayor. It’s a big thing for us as now we would have a municipal corporation chief who would understand women’s issues better,” said Monika Tripathi, a housewife from Triveni Nagar.
Monika said civic issues affect women more than men. “With the election of a woman mayor, we can expect better civic amenities in the days to come,” she added.
Sangeeta Kumari, another homemaker from the city, too feels the same. “Our time has come. We can now expect better living conditions in the state capital. I hope our new mayor would take up the issues like traffic, civic amenities and road illumination on priority,” she said.
However, some people were of the view that it took quite long for the government to get the mayor’s seat reserved for women in Lucknow.
“Why did it take 100 years (or 70 years from Independence) for the government to take a call on this. Nowadays, there is nothing that women can’t do. Be it political career, sports or tough jobs like that of a loco pilot, they are excelling in all fields. I am sure our new woman mayor would excel as a mayor too,” said Anjali Chaturvedi, another homemaker, hailing from Hazratganj.
“Indirect pattern of municipal ward elections continued till August 14, 1947 when the then mayor Chaudhari Kharikul Zama migrated to Pakistan and became the founder member of the Muslim League and joined the Mohammed Ali Jinnah cabinet,” said Amit Puri, HoD statistics, Mahila PG College and senior BJP leader actively involved in championing the cause of civic bodies’ rights.
Puri, who is well versed with the history of the Lucknow Municipal Corporation, said after the Indian government took over the electoral system, BS Sanwal (ICS of UP cadre) became the administrator of Lucknow and in 1959 UP Municipal Corporation Act came into force.
“In February 1960, a leading advocate of Lucknow Raj Kumar Srivastava became the first mayor post independence. He was from Jan Sangh. This too was an indirect system of election,” added Puri.
From 1974 to 1989, there was no municipal election in the entire UP. In 1989, the municipal elections (indirect) were held and Dr Dauji Gupta became the mayor of Lucknow.
But things changed in 1994 when, in the light of 74th Constitutional Amendment, the municipal corporation adopted direct mayoral elections. In 1995, the first direct mayoral elections were held and Dr SC Rai became the first mayor of Lucknow to be elected by the public.
Subsequently, civic polls were held in 2000, 2006 and 2012 . But no woman candidate was elected as mayor.
Puri said the history of the municipal corporation dates back to 1858, when the British government constituted a conservancy committee to clear the debris and beautify the buildings damaged during the First War of Independence.
“In 1859, GG Cample Square was deputy commissioner during whose tenure the committee was renamed as local committee. It’s first meeting took place in Chhatar Manzil,” he added.
In 1860, the committee was again rechristened to municipal committee when the British government felt the need to generate revenue to carry out re-construction work. House tax was imposed for the first time then. Apart from this, octroi, nazul and garden land charges were also levied to generate revenue. The system continued till September 14, 1884 — when the first municipality board was constituted in Lucknow.
Prior to 1884, there was no election system. The district magistrate or deputy commissioner used to be the ex-officio head of the municipal ward, but from 1884 onwards Indians got an opportunity to get elected as members of the municipal board (corporators) but not as chairperson (now mayor). However, things changed and in 1917, the first mayor was elected.