M'luru sees only 8 women mayors in 39 years

The City Municipal Council in Mangaluru was upgraded to a corporation 39 years ago, yet, only eight of the 31 mayors so far have been women.

The official records under the 2011 census show Mangaluru city to have an urban population of 488,968 – of which 242,512 are males and 246,456 are females, the sex ratio thereby being 1016. Under such circumstances, the city having so few women leading the local administration raises eyebrows.

Younis Britto was the first woman mayor of Mangaluru, from 1993 to 1994, followed by Hilda Alva (1998-99), Sundari (2000-2001), Vijaya Arun (2006-07), Rajani Dugganna (2010-11), Gulzar Banu (2012-13), Jacintha Vijay Alfred (2015-16) and Kavitha Sanil (2017-18).

Rajani Duggani was the only woman member of the BJP to become a mayor of the city. Also, of the 31 mayors, eight were from minority communities – four Muslims and Christians each.

History

Looking back, although Mangaluru got a City Corporation in 1980, the first elections were held on December 4, 1983 and the mayor was elected on January 6, 1984.

In the first election, the Congress came to power. Sadashiva Bhandary was the first mayor of Mangaluru. The Congress was in power in 1990, 2002 and in 2013. There was administrator’s rule from 1995 to 1997. In 1997, neither the BJP nor the Congress could gain a majority, with the Congress winning 30 seats, the BJP 24 and the JD(S) 6 seats. The Congress – JD(S) coalition were in power in the Corporation.

The BJP won a majority in 2007 with 35 seats while the Congress got 20 seats. In spite of getting majority, owing to a faux pas by the BJP candidate Roopa Bangera, Congress corporator Gulzar Banu was elected mayor in the final tenure during the BJP’s term in 2012-13.

The election to the previous term of the MCC council was held on March 7, 2013, but the mayor was elected only in March 2014. A writ petition, filed by a corporator, challenging the reservation a roster notification of the government of August 2013, the high court stayed the notification and directed the government to reserve the post of mayor to a general category candidate and the deputy mayor’s post to a woman candidate of general category.

Last term

In the previous term of the council, Mahabala Marla (2014-15) Jacintha Vijaya Alfred (2015-16), Harinath (2016-17), Kavitha Sanil (2017-18) and Bhaskar K (2018-19) served as mayors. The term of the council ended in March 2019, but fresh election has been delayed as some members approached the court questioning the reservation roster notification.

After the state government submitted a fresh reservation roster, the court directed the Election Commission to complete the election process by November 15, 2019.

After the formation of the Corporation in 1980, it has seen expansion of its municipal boundaries twice —in 1996-97 and in 2002. In 1996-97, the MCC limits expanded to include nearby areas of Surathkal Town Municipality, Katipalla notified area, Panambur, Baikampady, Kulai, Hosabettu villages.

In 2002, Bajal, Kannuru, Kudupu and Thiruvail Panchayats were included within the city limits. At present, there are 60 wards, covering 132.45 square kilometres and 2.11 lakh properties.

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