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Aneesa Mirza of Congress elected
as the new mayor of Ahmedabad
Binita Parikh in Ahmedabad |
April 16, 2003 20:20 IST
After much speculation, political give-and-take and intrigue, senior Congress corporator Aneesa Mirza was on Wednesday morning elected as the mayor of Ahmedabad, where the minority Muslim community bore the brunt of the post-Godhra riots.
The BJP had fielded Bharti Patel, to deny Congress a walkover. Corporators of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elect the mayor.
The choice of Mirza, a Muslim, as the Congress candidate came as a surprise as Ratna Vora and Hema Patel were considered the frontrunners.
The seat was reserved for a lady, but not of a reserved category, as per the provisions of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation (BPMC) Act, which governs the AMC.
The Congress enjoys a majority in the AMC and the election of its candidate was a mere formality, but the choice of the candidate gave the party much heartburn.
State level leaders were engaged in hectic discussions in Gandhinagar but could not decide on a name even up to the wee hours of Wednesday.
Mirza's candidature became public only on Wednesday morning, hours before the election was to take place.
Mirza is one of the seniormost leaders in the Congress but had not been given any major responsibility until now.
"I have been a patient worker and it has paid off," Mirza said, but refused any further comment on the issue.
Mirza (60), who has a Masters in English and History, had done her schooling in Agra.
She came to Ahmedabad after her marriage and started her political career during the 1969 riots.
Besides basic services like drinking water and drainage facilities to the citizens, Mirza said that the city needs peace and harmony.
If communal harmony is to be restored in the city, improper implementation of law, unnecessary harassment of citizens and unnecessary political intervention in matters of law and order had to stop, she told rediff.com.
"Small and insignificant events take the shape of major communal flare-ups as authorities do not take necessary action. I will try to ensure that officials perform their duty diligently and try to restore people's faith in the authorities," she said.
Mirza has faith in the civic sense of the people and asserted that if they would be willing to help the administration enforce law and order.
She plans to strengthen local peace committees and make them more effective by involving more people in its activities.
"I will see that small business owners and hawkers are not harnessed as this leads to loss of income, which in turn leads to social tension. A person who cannot make his or her ends meet is more likely to turn to anti-social activities," Mirza said.