The district collectorate at Kutchery in Ranchi swarms with people on Tuesday, the last day for filing nominations for RMC polls. (Prashant Mitra)
No, kitchen politics won’t spice up civic polls, “respect for democracy and individuality” will.
On Tuesday, the concluding day to file nomination papers for Ranchi Municipal Corporation election, a saas-bahu pair, rivals for the councillor’s post in ward No. 47, got much more than their 15 minutes of fame.
Last is not the least, the Tuesday nomination decisively proved.
As many as 209 ward councillor aspirants and four mayoral aspirants filed their papers on the last day at the district collectorate in Kutchery.
Finally, the civic body election, to be held on April 7, has 531 aspirants for 55 ward councillor posts and 16 for the sole mayor’s seat. All the nomination papers will be scruitinised on Wednesday.
The stars of Tuesday’s show were Bushra Nasim (60) and her daughter-in-law, Aafrin Naaz (27).
Both the women filed their papers together on Tuesday afternoon for the same councillor’s post for ward No. 47.
When contacted, both appeared thrilled about “turning political rivals to foster democracy”.
Bushra, a home science postgraduate, also has a bachelor’s degree in education. Besides running her garments shop near Nirmala College, she is an avid social worker.
The elegant lady is evidently no stereotypical mother-in-law. Neither is Aafrin the kind of coy and mute daughter-in-law Indian television serials have stridently publicised.
Aafrin, who is now a homemaker, earlier worked with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). But she loves helping her mother-in-law in household chores, her business as well as her social work, she said.
The duo are evidently close. So why this political rivalry by choice?
“I am a strong supporter of democracy and respect for everyone’s individuality,” said Bushra.
Young Aafrin — the new-age daughter-in-law — had another interesting take.
“I wanted to tell people across all strata of society that two members of the same family can live together in harmony despite two different ideologies and thoughts. The broader message is tolerance for dissent and dialogue to work together,” she smiled.
Helping them with the nomination process was a third lady, who introduced herself as Arjmand Nasim, Bushra’s daughter and Aafrin’s sister-in-law.
“I’m a PR manager in New Delhi. I thought I’ll help out both mom and Aafrin. I will highlight the positive points of both to give residents of ward No. 47 the option to select one of them for their uplift,” Nasim said.
Special candidate Ramesh Pandey, also one of the youngest at 25, filed his papers for ward No. 49.
“I hold an intermediate degree in commerce and am a Congress worker. This is my first election,” the Namkum resident confidently said, attracting attention as he supported himself with a walker.
If Ramesh is a youthful 25, Jainendra Prasad, another aspirant for the councillor’s post, is a young-at-heart 62.
The senior citizen, who’s a retired as a Heavy Engineering Corporation employee, filed his papers on Tuesday as an aspirant for the post of councillor, ward No. 28.
Prasad, who is a social worker and patron of Chandrashekhar Azad Durga Puja Samiti, said he depended on his huge 54-member joint family to campaign for him in the area.
“I have a large and happy family. I firmly and fervently believe in fostering family values. If elected, I will treat my ward as my extended family,” he smiled.
Among the four who filed nominations for the post of the mayor were Devi Dayal Munda, a relative of late and beloved tribal ideologue Ram Dayal Munda, and architect Naveen Prakash Lakra, who arrived at the district collectorate with former HRD minister Bandhu Tirkey.
By and large, the process of filing nomination papers was smooth.
But at the end of the day, there were a few heavy hearts. For instance, one Baby Sinha, an aspirant who reached the collectorate after 3pm, was not allowed file her nomination papers. The returning officer proved to be a stickler for punctuality. He clocked her chances out, at least for this year.
One hopes the new RMC team will be as punctual in its work.
Have the RMC elections attracted quality aspirants?