Source : The Hindu
SURPRISE WINNERS: Prashanta Shantinath Budavi (left) and Yunis B. Momin who were elected as Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Belgaum respectively on Tuesday.
Belgaum: A Kannada-speaking candidate on Tuesday was elected Mayor of Belgaum, which is considered a stronghold of the Maharashtra Ekikarani Samiti (MES). The MES lost the Deputy Mayor’s post to an Urdu-speaking candidate.
Regional Commissioner, Amita Prasad, who officiated as Returning Officer, declared Prashanta Shantinath Budavi elected as Mayor and Yunis B. Momin elected as Deputy Mayor.
The post of Mayor was reserved for woman (general) and that of Deputy Mayor for “general”. Ms. Budavi and Mr. Momin polled 30 votes each as against 28 votes polled by MES candidates Neelima Paushe and Netaji Balu Mangutkar. The Kannada organisations and workers, who had all the reasons to celebrate the victory, had to be content with offering floral tributes to the statue of Rani Channamma at Channamma Circle, thanks to the prohibitory orders in force.
Ms. Budavi and Mr. Momin belong to Sarvabhashik Samvichar Vikas Vedike floated by a Kannada-Urdu speaking corporators with the help of a small breakaway group of MES led by the former Mayor Sambhaji Patil.
Belgaum MP Suresh C. Angadi, who did not vote in the past mayoral polls, yielded to pressure from the BJP leadership and Kananda groups and cast his vote in favour of the vedike candidates.
Thirty-seven-year-old Ms. Budavi hails from Kittur. She is the wife of Shantinath Budavi, City president of Kannada Rakshana Vedike. A home-maker, she represents Ward No.58 in the Council. Mr. Momin, 44, is a Science graduate and represents Ward No. 47 in the city.
However, Ms. Budavi is the second Kannada-speaking candidate to be elected Mayor. The first Kannada candidate who held the Mayor’s post was veteran Kannada leader Siddangouda Patil from June 30, 1991 to December 25, 1992.
The then Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government led by the former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh had yielded to pressure from Kannada organisations and on November 21, 2005 superseded the corporation Council headed by the then Mayor Vijay Pandurang More for taking a stand favouring merger of areas dominated by Marathi-speaking people in Belgaum with Maharashtra.
Ms. Budavi and Mr. Momin expressed their gratitude to SSVV members, their leader Sambhaji Patil and Mr. Angadi for their election.
The reservation for women has ensured 16 women being elected to the civic body in September 2007 polls. Ever since the formation of the corporation, four of the 19 Mayoral terms hitherto, were led by three women corporators. Vijayalakshmi Vishnu Chopde was the first woman Mayor who completed her term from February 15, 1996 to February 15, 1997.
Vandana Mohan Belgundkar was the only woman to have served two full mayoral terms in same Council from June 16, 2001 to June 19, 2002 and later again from September 3, 2004 to September 5, 2005. Neelima Chavhan was the third woman to head the Council from June 29, 2002 to June 29, 2003.
Also, five deputy mayoral terms were served by four women members — Kusuma Krishna Tapale (Mayor 24, 1990 to June 29, 1991), Gourabai Jaipal Londe (February 15, 1997 to March 30, 1998), Asma Tahsildar (April 17, 2000 to February 13, 2001) and Veena Kolkar (from June 16 to 19, 2001 and June 30, 2003 to September 3, 2004). Unity paid off
Mr. Angadi has attributed the victory of Kannada speaking candidate belonging to Sarvabhashik Samvichar Vikas Vedike as Mayor of the 58-member corporation to the vedike members who remained united until the end. He told The Hindu soon after the results of the Mayoral polls were declared here on Tuesday afternoon that the credit should go to all the corporators, including the Urdu and two Marathi-speaking corporators who were united under the banner of the vedike to create a history of sorts.
Nobody else could claim the success of the vedike candidates, he said. Kannada Rakshana Vedike’s office-bearer said that but Mr. Angadi’s vote, no body else in the city or district came forward to support the vedike.
Source : The Hindu