Mumbai: Tracing the journey of Kishori Pednekar; A fiery mayor with a heart

Updated: Nov 24, 2019, 07:33 IST | Chetna Sadadekar | Mumbai

From the mills of Worli, to being a staunch Bal Thackeray fan, a nurse, and now the mayor, Kishori Pednekar only wants to make sure citizens are looked after

Kishori Pednekar at Arthur Road Naka on Friday. Pic/Atul Kamble
Kishori Pednekar at Arthur Road Naka on Friday. Pic/Atul Kamble

I will ensure good roads for the citizens," vows 56-year-old Kishori Pednekar, the 77th Mayor of the richest municipal corporation of the country—Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Interestingly, while she was elected from the Shiv Sena, she comes from a family of Congress loyalists. She believes her years of hard work have paid off, from practising as a nurse while managing her area for the Sena, travelling to Uran for 10 years and working odd hours. Pednekar will now be devoting the next two years to the city's development.

Pednekar was born in a mill worker's family at Worli Naka, and brought up by a father who was a hard-core Congress follower. In her growing years though, she began to be drawn to Bal Thackeray. Pednekar says, "My father was very strict and followed the Congress. But, during my teenage years, I began to hear stories from my cousin about the Shiv Sena and its founder and would listen in rapt attention. After I got married, I joined the Sainiks and contributed to the rallies. I did not have a designation then, I was just a regular Sena follower."

However, after getting married, she moved to Lower Parel with her husband Kishor Pednekar, and the couple suffered financial struggle. It was then that she took up a job as a full-time nurse in 1992 and was also given charge of her area by the Sena. While she did not have too much support from her husband's family, she does credit him with making it in the city of dreams.

Recalling her struggle, she said, "I had done a nursing course and when the opportunity to work at the JNPT hospital came up, I took it up as we needed the money; my husband's salary was not enough. We both worked hard and somehow I managed through those years of double duty and taking care of the patients and my husband's grandmother, along with my two children. Along with all this, my interest in politics and social service ensured that I found time for that, too."

She continued, "It is said that behind every successful man, there is a woman, but in my case, my success, despite no political background, is because of my husband. When I wasn't around, all the housework was taken care of."

The new Mayor who will be moving to the Byculla zoo bungalow lost her own house two years ago in a legal case. SaiPrasad Pednekar, her son, said, "It was a hard time. But, even then, the local Sena members intervened and saved us from becoming homeless." As his mother now takes on a new role, he said that he missed her during his childhood as she was busy making ends meet along with his father. Now, she will be busy serving the city.

After Pednekar became a corporator in 2002 from the Lower Parel area, there was no looking back. She was then re-elected in 2012 and 2017 and has also held various positions in the BMC. She is known for her fierce personality and for taking on Opposition leaders on the floor of the House in the BMC.

Pednekar, who has always been a hands-on Sena worker, was popular in her area during her youth. Her colleagues have called her the most connected corporator on ground.

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