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Rahul Gandhi advocates for directly-elected Mayor with a 5-year term

BusinessToday.In     April 1, 2019

Pitching for urban governance reform, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday called for direct elections for the Chairperson of a Municipality, also known as Mayor, saying that "real smart cities are built by good leaders".

Taking to Twitter, Rahul Gandhi said in a bid to improve quality of life in our cities we will move to directly elected Mayors with 5 year terms and elected councils.

"To improve quality of life in our cities we will move to directly elected Mayors with 5 year terms & elected councils. Administration will be run by multidisciplinary teams of specialists & experts accountable to the Mayor & council," the Congress chief said.

Currently, the Majors are elected from among the corporates and councillors. Almost twenty five years after the passage of the 74th Amendment Act of 1992, our Municipal Bodies are yet to be fully empowered, both politically as well as functionally.

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Reports suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also considering Mayoral reform and had asked the Urban Development Ministry to suggest ways of introducing it.

As per the Constitution of India, 74th Amendment Act of 1992, Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) - Nagar Panchayats, Municipal Councils and Municipal Corporations - became a constitutionally recognised "institution of self-government", subjected to detailed supervisory control and guidance by the state governments. However, it did not specify the manner of election, tenure or powers of the Mayors of ULBs.

It is noteworthy that Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had introduced a private member's bill "The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016" in the Lok Sabha in 2016 for strengthening local governments. Tharoor had proposed a Bill on direct elections for mayors included a provision for a mayor-in-council that would be nominated by the directly elected mayor.

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"A directly elected Mayor, at the head of the Municipal Body, will be fully empowered with political, functional, and budgetary autonomy and would serve to fix both ownership and accountability for running the town or city," Tharoor had proposed in his bill.

Edited by Chitranjan Kumar

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