(From left) Newly elected deputy mayor Vinay Kumar Pappu and mayor Sita Sahu flash the victory sign in Patna on Monday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh
Patna has got its first lady mayor, who is a businesswoman to boot.
Sita Sahu, councillor of ward number 58 of the Alamganj area, was declared mayor after a close contest with Rajni Rai, the councillor of ward number 22C of the Digha area, on Monday. While 38 councillors voted in favour of Sahu, Rai could notched up 35 councillors' votes. Two votes were declared invalid.
The mayoral election was held through secret ballot paper. To win, a candidate required at least 36 votes.
Sita (59) comes from a business family. She declared herself as a businesswoman in her election affidavit. The affidavit merely says that she is literate, but she said she has a bachelor's degree with honours.
The affidavit statesshe is a crorepati. Her immovable property is worth around Rs 5 crore while she has declared movable property worth around Rs 11 lakh in her affidavit. She also owns 400gm gold and 760gm silver.
The affidavit says she doesn't have any criminal charges against her.
Sahu's husband Baidnath Prasad, a businessman, died on July 23, 1990.
A few years ago, Sahu's family used to run a cereal mill. Now the family owns many businesses, including painting- and construction-related ones.
Sahu has two sons and a daughter. The eldest among the three, Shweta, is married to an engineer while the second ward, Shishir, is a businessman. Her youngest son Sushant is an engineer.
Asked about her priorities, the newly minted mayor-elect seemed pretty clear about what she wanted.
Family members of new mayor Sita Sahu celebrate in Patna City on Monday. Picture by Sachin
"The workers of the municipal corporation are facing various kinds of difficulties. I will get cent per cent work done from them but on the other hand I will look into their problems. My priorities will be to ensure cleanliness in the city and get rid of encroachment apart from getting other civic works done. I want support from all of you," she told The Telegraph on Monday.
Asked how she would address large-scale bungling and corruption in the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC), she said: "I will do my work honestly."
Rajni Rai, whom Sita defeated in the mayoral election by three votes, said: "I don't know the reason why I lost this election. I congratulate the new mayor but I will continue to work for the city as I am also one of its citizens."
The mayoral election this time was a hard-fought affair. As soon as the councillor election results were out on June 9, intense lobbying had begun for the coveted mayor's post. The PMC poll results threw up 59 new faces in which 49 were women. This time, the civic body has got only 26 male councillors.
Residents, specially women in the city, were excited that the city would get a lady mayor for the first time.
Neha Kumari, (24), a college student who lives on Boring Road, said women had made strides in politics but Sahu had shattered a glass ceiling.
"The city has now got a lady mayor for the first time. Being a woman, I hope she will be more sensitive towards issues related to corporation as women are said to be more sensitive than their male counterparts. Also, a woman mayor is expected to indulge in less corruption than a male mayor," Neha said.
Sunil Kumar, a Patel Nagar-based businessman, said it did not matter whether the city got a lady mayor or a male mayor. "The only things that matters is that the new mayor should work," Sunil added.
Vinay Kumar Pappu was elected the deputy mayor.