Women activists have applauded the idea of having a female mayor for the first time in Bhubaneswar.
The opposition party's female leaders, on the other hand, have branded it a "poll gimmick by chief minister Naveen Patnaik."
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), which was created in 1994, will hold a direct election for the mayor's seat this time.
The position is important for a politician because the BMC region encompasses three assembly seats and is home to Odisha's capital. Activist Subhashree Das said, ”if a woman becomes the mayor of the city, she can understand and address the issues related to women easily. As it is an important post, she can be an example for other women who are coming from the grassroots level of democracy.”
Bandita Parida, leader of the Women's Wing of the Odisha Congress, said, “Chief minister Naveen Patnaik speaks about women’s reservation ahead of elections. We know how the government treats women in the state. Whether it is the Mamita Meher case or other issue related to violence against women, the state government does not take any action. But the same government plays the ‘women card’ right before the election.”
Parida further said, “women are not safe in the state. If we analyse the National Crime Records Bureau data, we can find how our women face violence in the state on a day-today basis. Reservation for the mayor’s post is nothing but a poll gimmick.”
Surama Padhy, a BJP politician, said, “women should come forward in every sector and the government also should try to give them equal opportunity everywhere. But the cases related to violence against women are coming up from across the state on a regular basis now. This disputes the claim of the government to be the saviour of women.”
Ananta Narayan Jena, a BJD MLA and former mayor of Bhubaneswar, said, “first the BMC mayor’s post was reserved for general, second one for OBC and third one for general again. Now it may be reserved for women as a rotation basis.”