Candidates from ruling NCP and Shiv Sena held elections on Wednesday to appoint a new standing committee chairperson for Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
The process reinforced one fact — in the past ten years no female corporator has got an opportunity to head the prestigious panel, which frames annual budget of the corporation and oversees policy-making decisions.
Two female corporators have headed the standing committee so far — Sangeeta Devkar in 2004-05, and Neeta Pardeshi in the early 90s.
In the 2012 corporation elections, the policy of 50 per cent reservation for women came into effect. Currently, there are 76 female corporators in PMC.
Speaking to mid-day, former mayor Vaishali Bankar said, “Like the mayor’s post, standing committee chairpersonship should also be reserved for women, so that, at least periodically, women will also get the opportunity to head this decision-making body.” “If 50 per cent female corporators can efficiently run PMC, then why can’t they head the standing committee?” she asked.
Interestingly, Bankar represents the same ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which nominated Bapurao Karne’s name, who was elected the new standing committee chairperson on Wednesday. On the other hand out of 6 members of NCP that are currently in standing committee, three are ladies.
When probed about this, Bankar said, “Karne is a senior corporator, and this is his fourth term. That’s why the party high command selected his name. But I am sure that next year a female candidate would get an opportunity.”
“Along with financial powers, standing committee chairpersonship is a decision-making post. Our society’s traditional approach that a woman cannot handle such responsibility is the reason why no female candidate has headed the standing committee in almost 10 years,” BJP corporator Madhuri Sahasrabuddhe said.
PMC’s budget for 2014-15, passed last month by the civic body