Mukta Tilak, MBA, is Pune’s first BJP mayor

After her appointment on Wednesday Mukta Tilak said her aim is to oversee Pune’s transformation into a Smart City.Mandar TannuMandar Tannu  

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Mukta Tilak was formally elected as the mayor of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Wednesday, making it the first instance of a BJP member’s election as the mayor of the civic body.

Along with Ms. Tilak, Republican Party of India (Athawale) leader Navnath Kamble was elected as the deputy mayor. The RPI (A) had supported the BJP in the PMC polls.

Moments after her appointment, the 51-year-old Ms. Tilak — a scion of Bal Gangadhar ‘Lokmanya’ Tilak’s family — said, “my objective is to oversee the Pune’s transformation into a Smart City, even if it involved some tough decisions.”

“The need of the hour is to effect a change in the city’s traffic [problems] and enhance the bus transport system. Affordable housing is another area which will receive top priority,” Ms. Tilak said.

Ms. Tilak, wife of Lokmanya Tilak’s great-grandson Shailesh Tilak, and an MBA with a specialisation in marketing, won her fourth successive civic election on a BJP ticket from old Pune’s Narayan Peth-Sadashiv Peth area, where she lives with her family.

While members of her family, like her nephew Rohit Tilak, contested on Congress tickets, she chose to side with the BJP.

With the BJP sweeping the PMC with an unprecedented landslide, snaring 98 of the 162 seats, Ms. Tilak’s victory was a foregone conclusion, as was Mr. Kamble’s.

Despite this, the BJP’s saffron ally, the Shiv Sena, along with the opposition NCP and the Congress had stepped in to queer the BJP’s pitch by propping up candidates for the mayoral elections.

The Sena, despite winning only 10 seats in the PMC, had fielded Sangeeta Thosar for the mayor’s post and Vishal Dhanawade for the deputy mayor’s post. The NCP had fielded Nanda Lonkar for the mayoral post while the Congress had fielded Lata Rajguru for the deputy mayor’s post.

However, the Sena’s candidates withdrew their nominations on Wednesday morning, before the commencement of the mayoral poll.

Ms. Rajguru, who was backed by the Congress and the NCP, secured 52 votes, but was beaten by the BJP’s superior numbers, all of whom voted for Mr. Kamble.