The council hall of the Ripon Building in Chennai opened its door to a new batch of councillors after 11 years for the swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, March 2. Perhaps for the first time, women have outnumbered men in the Greater Chennai Corporation's council.
While 100 wards were reserved for women, including 16 from the Scheduled Caste community, an independent candidate Vimala Karna won from a general ward, making it 101 women in the council.
Variety Of Emotions Witnessed
The council hall witnessed a variety of emotions when Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi administered the oath of office to the 200 councillors.
Some had tears in their eyes while taking the oath, while several others expressed their allegiance to party leaders. While the names of former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and current Chief Minister MK Stalin were repeated by DMK councillors, the party's youth wing leader and Chepauk MLA Udhayanidhi Stalin also found mentions.
Councillors from AIADMK, VCK, MDMK, INC and IUML also mentioned their leaders. An AIADMK councillor even broke into song as he was sworn in, The New Indian Express reported.
Among those sworn in were Durga Devi, a pregnant 31-year-old councillor who is only two weeks away from delivering her first baby and 21-year-old Priyadharshini, the youngest member in the council. Councillors, who contested independently after their parties denied them tickets, thanked those who worked for their victory and the voters.
While only relatives were allowed near the council hall where arrangements were made to watch the ceremony on screens, hundreds of party cadres waited outside to congratulate the newly-elected members. While the DMK and its allies have a majority in the council, the party has yet to announce the mayoral candidate officially. The election for the mayor and the deputy mayor is to be held on March 3.
In 2011, the council hall was renovated to accommodate 200 councillors from the earlier 155 at the cost of Rs 7.7 crore. However, some leaders, including VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan who had come to congratulate the new councillors, said the government should consider building an enormous hall to seat the councillors comfortably.