Towards directly elected and empowered mayors
The post of mayor should be important in itself and not just be seen as a stepping stone to state or national-level politics
One should give credit where it is due. Shashi Tharoor is an outstanding parliamentarian. He has made two attempts, via private member’s bills, to amend section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises homosexuality. Last week, he brought another private member’s bill to provide for direct election, and empowerment of the office, of mayors in large Indian cities. It is well known that the urban mess that India finds itself in today can be largely traced to weak city-level institutions. An empowered office of a directly elected mayor is desirable. What are the challenges in getting there? And how many of those challenges does Tharoor’s private member’s bill overcome?