Cuttack gets new mayor

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By VIKASH SHARMA
  • Published 14.02.14
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Cuttack, Feb. 13: BJD leader Anita Behera was today elected the mayor of the civic body here.

She is the second woman to occupy the coveted post of the Cuttack Municipal Corporation after BJP’s Nibedita Pradhan in 2003.

Director of the municipal administration Sanjib Mishra, who conducted the elections at the corporation office here, said the 35-year-old councillor, who won from the Telenga Bazar area (ward No. 21), was elected unopposed. The top civic body post was reserved for scheduled caste woman.

Though three other women — Mamata Behera, Minakhi Behera and Sulochana Sethi — had been in the race, chief minister Naveen Patnaik handpicked Anita.

Rural development minister Bikram Kesari Arukh announced Anita’s name in the presence of senior party leaders at Anand Bhavan here today.

Anita, a first-timer, had defeated BJP candidate Padmini Behera by a margin of nearly 574 votes. For the first time, the BJD captured the seat.

After her election, she said: “I am happy that I have been chosen by party leaders for the job. I will work for the all-round development of the city,” she said, adding that sanitation and health would be her priorities, while she would also focus on improving amenities in the slums.

“We will work for improvement of roads and combat the mosquito menace in the city. Steps will be taken to complete the unfinished projects,” Anita said.

A mother of two daughters, Anita credited her success to her family members. Her brother in-law Dhirendra Behera is the ward president for the BJD, while her husband Narendra Behera, a businessman, is also a party activist.

Anita, who has studied up to Plus Two, said: “I will try my best for women empowerment, and at the same time, ensure that benefits of all the government-sponsored welfare projects reach the actual beneficiaries.”

In the recently concluded elections, the BJD had won 36 seats, while the Congress got nine and the BJP four with Independent candidates emerging victorious in 10 wards of the 59-ward civic body.

The newly elected councillors were also sworn in today. “There will be challenges before the newly elected corporation, but we will try our best to meet them,” said Chiranjay Sahoo, an Independent councillor.