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From labourer to CMC chief

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Simple: Chandubai Chavan fetching a pot of water from the borewell.
Simple: Chandubai Chavan fetching a pot of water from the borewell.

Suresh Bhat

Chandubai Chavan was initially reluctant to sit on the chair meant for her

BIJAPUR: Though there has been a sea change in her social status, it was just another day for Chandubai Chavan, who was catapulted to the post of president of the Bijapur City Municipal Council (CMC).

She fetched water from a nearby borewell, cooked food on a charcoal stove and served it to her family before getting into the official car that drove her to the CMC building.

She was elected president on Friday, and Monday was her first day in office. Apparently she was reluctant to sit on the cushioned chair meant for her,as it was new to her.

Initially, she seemed uncomfortable in her new role, but by the end of the day she had settled down to her job.

She cleared two or three files. Though she cannot read and write, she has learnt to sign her name.

The story of her ascent to power is amazing. Till the other day, she used to work as a labourer, but now she holds the reins of power. .

Family

Her husband, Lakshman Chavan, works as a mason, while two of his younger brothers, Gopal and Anil, have taken to small-time contracts. Theirs is a joint family of 18 people.

Fortune started knocking at their door when Ward No. 35, which includes Kalebag Colony, where they live, was reserved for Schedule Castes (woman).

In fact, none of them took it seriously when their former employer, Vijaykumar Patil, younger brother of the former MLA Shivanand Patil, advised that one of them contest the municipal elections.

Not much hope

Ms. Chavan reluctantly filed her nomination papers as an independent candidate. She did not have much hope, but romped home thanks to the groundwork done by Mr. Patil and his friends.

It helped that the post of president was reserved for a Scheduled Caste woman candidate, as she is the only councillor in that category.

Ms. Chavan said that she owes whatever she is today to “sauvkar” (Mr. Patil). She said she was aware of the challenges before her.

First, she has to upgrade civic amenities in her locality. There is no drainage system nor are there asphalted roads in her colony.

Water supply is inadequate and most of the residents, including her family, largely depend on borewells.

“I will give emphasis to ensuring regular water supply. Then I will focus on providing roads and drainage. I seek blessings and cooperation from all,” she told The Hindu.

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