Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s (TRS) Vijaylakshmi R Gadwal won the latest Mayoral election held by Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) recently, becoming the first female Mayor of Hyderabad after the formation of Telangana. TRS’ Mothe Srilatha Shoban Reddy also won the post of Deputy Mayor. Banjara Hills corporator Vijaylakshmi was up against BJP nominee RK Puram corporator Radha Reddy while Tarnaka corporator Mothe Srilatha defeated BJP’s Shankar Yadav.
“I feel very proud, I thank both CM KCR and KTR for choosing two women. There are many things I want to concentrate on. As a woman, I promise complete safety for women in Hyderabad. Be it roads, drainage, etc there are many issues. We will address all these issues. I have a vision,” said 56-year-old Vijaylakshmi after becoming Hyderabad’s 17th Mayor, as per reports.
Daughter of TRS general secretary and Rajya Sabha member K. Keshav Rao, Vijaylakshmi was living in the US for 18 years before returning to Hyderabad. She returned to India in 2007 and gave up her US citizenship to support her father in politics. She joined politics in 2016 when she contested for the post of corporator from TRS and won. Before her career in politics began, she served as a research assistant in Duke University, North Carolina, in the cardiology department.
Despite her strong political lineage what sets Vijaylakshmi apart is her educational distinction. All her education has been done in Hyderabad, with her schooling from Holy Mary High School in Saifabad. She graduated in Arts from the Raja Bahadur Venkata Rama Reddy Women's College, Narayanguda. After this, she studied journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan institutions, and finally did LLB from Sultan Ul Uloom College of Law, Banjara Hills.
Hyderabad’s four ‘first’ female Mayors
Interestingly, Hyderabad has had four first female Mayors since independence. However, they are all called ‘first’ because every time Hyderabad elected a woman mayor, the city or the state’s geography has transformed. The city’s Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH) elected it’s first female mayor in 1962 with Rani Kumudini Devi when her jurisdiction comprised the municipality of Jubilee Hills and the Municipal Corporation of Secunderabad. Her tenure last two years.
Then came Sarojini Pulla Reddy in 1965 when the jurisdiction under MCH had expanded to newer areas so she also became Hyderabad’s first female mayor of the revised MCH jurisdiction. Her tenure ended in 1966.
After Reddy’s tenure ended, there was a long dry spell of four decades for women mayors in Hyderabad, which was broken by former Congress member Banda Kartika Reddy in 2009. By then, MCH had inflated to become Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and when Banda won the civic body polls, she became the first female mayor of GHMC during the times of the undivided Andhra Pradesh. In 2014, AP was split into Telangana and now with Vijaylakshmi’s election, she has now become the first female Mayor of Hyderabad after the formation of Telangana.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai