On a typical Sunday winter afternoon, eager voters queued up outside polling stations, soaking up the soothing sun. They were casting votes to elect their first woman mayor, in the ongoing civic polls in Uttar Pradesh — a state known for giving India its first woman Governor and Chief Minister.
Sanyukta Bhatia not only won the election, but also became the first woman mayor of the state capital.
Sarojini Naidu was UP’s first woman governor, and Sucheta Kriplani was its first Chief Minister. The Uttar Pradesh Municipalities Act came into being in 1916, with barrister Syed Nabiullah becoming the first Indian to head the local body. Today, the mayor’s seat is reserved for women.
Citizens are hopeful and optimistic, hoping the appointment of a woman candidate will bring a much-needed fresh perspective to things.
Monika Tripathi, a housewife, told the Hindustan Times, “We are all set to welcome our new woman mayor. It is a big thing for us, and we hope to have a municipal corporation chief who would understand women’s issues better.” She added, “With the election of a woman mayor, we can expect better civic amenities in the days to come.”
It has taken long for the government to get the mayor’s seat reserved for women in Lucknow. Anjali Chaturvedi from Hazratganj said, “Why did it take 100 years (or 70 years from the time of independence) for the government to take a call on this? Nowadays, there is nothing that women can’t do. Be it a political career, sports or tough jobs like that of a loco pilot, they are excelling in all fields, and I am sure a woman will excel as a mayor too.”