In July this year, this paper had reported how former Mayor of Mumbai, Sunil Prabhu, violated traffic norms by parking his car on the footpath. Now, Snehal Ambekar, the newly-elected mayor, is in two minds whether to remove the red beacon or not from her vehicle. Even after receiving instructions from the chief minister to adhere to the Supreme Court’s order in this regard, the first woman Dalit mayor of the city has chosen to ask the public, on a social networking site, to make this decision for her.

If the mayor is open to involving the public in her decision-making process, does this mean that any bill passed by her will follow the same process?

The mayor is the first citizen of the city, and if she and her staff aren’t following the rules laid down by the court, then how can one expect citizens to behave like ideal citizens?

The mayor must understand that she is a public servant and not someone above the law. She is an equal, not first among equals. She must follow the rules laid down and set a good example for the people in the city.

Former mayor Prabhu was obsessed with the size of his office space in the BMC headquarters, and was not happy with what had been assigned to him. The reason for his displeasure was that his office was not as spacious and as opulent as the commissioner’s office.

Now, since we have a mayor who was honoured with the Best Corporator Award by an NGO, expectations from her are high. But, the love and attachment she has shown for the ‘lal batti’ (red beacon), in her first few days in office reveals her indecisiveness in making quick decisions.

Will anything concrete emerge during her tenure as mayor, or will he stick to the rubber-stamp image and enjoy the benefits that the post brings?

The mayor should be aware that the red beacon isn’t something that will help her command respect; it is her ideas and good work that will help her achieve true respect.