BENGALURU: For the first time in its history, women councillors could outnumber men in the next BBMP council.
This has become a possibility as 97 of the 198 wards in the BBMP are already reserved for women while several former women councillors are also planning to contest from the general category wards. Women have been given reservation under several categories — SC, ST, Backward Class A (BCA), Backward Class B (BCB) and General.
In the previous council, 68 women councillors were elected and some of them had contested from general wards and won. This time too, many of them are trying their luck in general wards.
Latha Narasimhamurthy, a first time councillor who won from HSR Layout with a BJP ticket, told Express, “In the previous term, my ward was reserved for General (Women). This time, they changed it to General. But I am planning to contest from the same ward.”
She said, “I am known for my development works. People will vote for me. Even before the election date was announced, resident welfare association members and apartment residents were asking me to contest the election. Contesting in General ward with male counterparts will not make any difference.”
Former mayor and three-time councillor Shantha Kumari from the BJP, who represented Mudalpalya ward three times, is now trying her luck from Maruti Mandir ward. Interestingly, Shantha had earlier contested the election as an independent, and as a Congress and then a BJP candidate. “In 2010, Mudalpalya ward was reserved for BCA category. It was not reserved for women. But I contested and won. Now the reservation has changed to BCB. As I fall under BCA, I cannot contest.”
“I have shifted to Maruti Mandir ward and our seniors from my party have agreed. Maruthi Mandir is reserved for BCA and I shall contest with male candidates. I am sure of winning,” she said.
Geetha Srinivasa Reddy, who represented Domlur in the previous term, cannot contest from the ward as the reservation has been changed to BCA. “I am keen on contesting from any suitable ward from Shanthinagara Assembly constituency including wards reserved for General category. As a first time councillor, I did good work in Domlur and this will help me win from General wards too,” she added.
Speaking to Express, Harish Ramaswamy, Professor in Political Science, Karnatak University, Dharwad, said in the recent GP elections, the representation for women was more. “Women members are yet to understand the system in the panchayat or the council to get things delivered. If this continues, giving more reservation to women will not serve the purpose,” he said.
Referring to a study by MPhil students from his department at Hubballi Dharwad Municipal Corporation, he said corruption was more in wards where women candidates are elected. “It is not because of the women members, but because of their family, including the councillor’s husband and children.”