A councillor from Patna city ward number 58, Sita Sahu on Monday became the city’s first woman mayor. Sahu defeated Rajni Rai by three votes to become the chief councillor in a tough election, where she polled 38 votes in the 75-member Patna Municipal Corporation. Rai who was contesting from Ward number 22c of Digha locality, got 35 votes. This is the first time that the seat was reserved for women.
The Patna Municipal Corporation elections were held on June 4 to decide the mayor. It was originally a contest between the ruling Grand Alliance (GA) in Bihar and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which supported the women’s election even though PMC elections are not held along party lines.
The GA backed Rai, who is an activist of the Janata Dal (U), while NDA backed Sahu who has been with the BJP for a long time now.
Both participants lobbied hard to win the support of the councillors. Sources from PMC claim that before polling was to begin, Rai had sent her set of councillors to Kolkata and Sahu had arranged for a trip to Deoghar and nearby places for her group of councillors to sustain their support.
The election took place in a tight security-backed establishment. Only the elected councillors were allowed to enter the venue to cast their vote.
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Another NDA-backed candidate, Vinay Kumar Pappu, who is a councillor from ward number 28, was elected deputy mayor.
The move to reserve the mayor’s seat for women does help in putting focus on representation of women in politics. But it remains to be seen if Sahu is given a free hand at decision-making.
Picture credit- Prokerala