Shradda Jadhav, formjer mayor of Mumbai

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Shradda Jadhav
Former Mayor of Mumbai

11 June 2010: Shradda Jadhav of the Shriv Sena party ascended to the Mumbai mayoralty in December 2009. The mayor is well known in the city for her elegant wardrobe and personal wealth. Elected to the city council at just 28, Jadhav made a name for herself on its women and child welfare committees. Her term of office is just two and a half years. Mayor Jadhav has been shortlisted for the 2010 World Mayor Prize.

Jadhav was born in Sangameshwar, elsewhere in the Maharashtra state of which Mumbai is the capital. A commerce graduate, she is married to businessman Sridhar Jadhav, with whom she has two sons. Her father in law, an independent member of the Greater Mumbai corporation, served as political mentor following her own election as an independent in 1992. In 1996 she was arrested for a public order offence following rally in support of Shriv Sena party leader Bal Thackeray. Jadhav joined Shriv Sena a year later and was subsequently rewarded with a seat on the municipal executive council of Mumbai mayor Nandu Satam.

Shiv Sena is a regionalist party based in Maharashtra which espouses a Hindu nationalism seen by some as right wing and biased against those not belonging to the Marathi ethno-linguistic group, particularly Muslims. The party’s origins lay in the post-war partition of India and the struggles between the dominant social democratic Congress party and Communist-led trade unions in the city, with Shriv Sena performing a street-level role against the communists. The party’s ageing founder and leader Thackeray (a professed admirer of Adolf Hitler) has since withdrawn from political life in favour of his son Uddhav as party president and it is now allied to the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In December 2009, Jadhav became Mumbai’s fifth female mayor, beating Congress’ Pricilla Kadam in the vote among the 228-member council. Jadhav holds the position as the candidate of the Shriv Sena/BJP ‘saffron’ alliance, though her election was aided in part by the abstention of the small Shriv Sena-breakaway Maharashtra Navnirman Sena party (led by Raj Thackeray, nephew of the Shriv Sena founder). The BJP’s Shailaja Girkar was also elected as deputy mayor as part of the alliance ticket. In 2006 Jadhav unsuccessfully stood for the Maharashtra state assembly in a by-election.

The Brihanmumbai Mahanagar Palika (or Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) is the city council for Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and consists of 266 members (known as corporators), India’s largest. The council appoints the city’s ceremonial mayor for a two and half year term, whereas day to day business is conducted by the city’s Municipal Commissioner, a member of the Indian civil service, who is appointed by the state government. Jadhav’s immediate predecessor as mayor, Shubha Raul (also of Shriv Sena), was responsible for passing a measure to decree that all of the corporation’s meetings be held in the Marathi language and also for banning hookah parlours in the city.

World Mayor 20/21

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