In this week's Buzz By The Bay, we caught up with the young and dynamic BMC corporator from the BJP, Harshita Narwekar. She got elected in 2017 from A ward no 226, which includes parts of Cuffe Parade and Nariman Point. Her constituency is a complex juxtaposition of some of the most expensive high-rises and marginalised slums, which require a tough balancing act of administration. She spoke about her challenges, projects and much-awaited BMC polls. Excerpts from an interview given to Anushka Jagtiani.
You have an impressive resume. You have done MBA and MS in health management. Besides family history, what else made you get into electoral politics at the BMC level?
I did my education in the US and then worked as a consultant for ten years in Mumbai. While I was doing that my brother-in-law Makarand Narwekar got elected independently. I started working with him and residents associations. I quite enjoyed the initiatives we took. It was really fulfilling to be a part of the change. There was an opportunity for me in 2017 that we could have a corporator from Cuffe Parade as well. So we thought why not replicate the same residents model where residents work with the elected representatives.
Since 2017, you have been most passionate about which projects?
I would say sustainability. In 2019, a report surfaced about Mumbai going underwater. I am very interested in sustainability and afforestation. We have planted 40,000 trees in two gardens in Colaba Woods and CPRA Greens. I realised that the initiative actually helps mitigate flooding risk. During the pandemic, I realised that I could do a lot in terms of health, education and women empowerment.
People say you have support of your family so it was easy for you to get into politics. Your response.
Indeed, it's a very good advantage. Currently, our local MLA has become Vidhan Sabha speaker. We have been able to do a lot of work in our areas. Having said that, it doesn't mean I don't work. I had to carve out my own space.
Maharashtra politics has seen quite a lot of upheavals in the last few months and the BMC has been controlled by Uddhav Sena. Has that affected your ability to function smoothly?
I don't think so. We were very lucky to do a lot of work in a tenure of five years. In our ward, we received a lot of cooperation from civic officials. I am not personally in the thick of politics, it always surfaces during elections.
What do you think of your party's (BJP) chances in the upcoming BMC polls?
With the support that we have in our area locally, we would be comfortable because our body of work speaks volumes. On the city level, too, the amount of work in terms of infrastructure and committment speaks for itself.
(We are on WhatsApp. To get latest news updates, Join our Channel. Click here)