Officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had sought the clarification after the urban development department declared after a lottery draw on Saturday that the next mayor for Mumbai would have to be a woman from the scheduled castes (SC).
What was the confusion?
The officials were unclear on whether only women SC corporators elected from reserved SC wards were eligible to contest the election to the post of mayor, or whether even a woman SC corporator elected from a general ward was eligible.
This aspect had been explained previously in a circular from the urban development department on February 6, 2007
The circular refers to a 1997 Supreme Court order in the case of Kasambhai Ghanchi versus Chandubhai Rajput. The court had stated that a person belonging to a backward class can contest for the post of president of a municipal council even if s/he is elected from a general ward.
"It is clear to us now. A corporator from any ward, but belonging to the SC women's category can contest the poll for mayor to be held next month," a BMC official said.
How does this affect the election?
This clarification opens the race for the mayor's post for three candidates of the Shiv Sena. Snehal Ambekar from ward 194 (Parel BDD chawl) and Dr Bharti Bavdane from ward 117 (Amrut Nagar, Vikhroli) are corporators elected from reserved wards. The third is Yamini Jadhav, also from a scheduled caste, from ward 207 (Mazgaon) which is a general ward.
Who are the candidates now?
"All the three candidates are first-timers, but Jadhav is the more experienced. Her husband (Yashwant) is a deputy leader of the Shiv Sena. Also, Jadhav and Ambekar are more aggressive than Bavdane," said a source in the BMC.
In academics, Bavdane is a doctor, while Jadhav is an Arts graduate and Ambekar is a commerce graduate. "These candidates were lobby, but eventually party president Uddhav Thackeray will figure out who is to be the next mayor of the city," the source said.
The Congress, which is the main opposition party in the civic body, will likely field either Dr Priyatama Sawant from ward 90 (Bandra Terminus Nirmal Nagar) or Usha Kamble from ward 140 (RCF, Chembur) as its candidate for the mayor's election.
What about the rest of the state?
According to the lottery draw on Saturday for the 26 municipal corporations in the state, women corporators will
battle it out for the top post also in neighbouring Mira-Bhayander and Vasai-Virar, whereas in Ulhasnagar the post will go to a woman from other backward classes (OBCs).
Navi Mumbai and Pimpri-Chinchwad will have mayors from the SCs. Nashik and Nagpur will have mayors from OBCs. But Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli and Pune will elect mayors from the general category.