Mayorship and Career
She was a member of the Congress Socialist Party, a caucus within the Congress Party for activists with
socialist leanings. Disillusioned with the progress of the Congress Party on socialism she joined a new
party, Socialist Party in 1948. She, however, left that party along with Edatata Narayanan and they
visited Moscow along with Rajani Palme Dutt. Both of them joined the Communist Party of India in the early
1950s. On the personal front, she was bereaved when Asaf Ali died in 1953.
In 1954, she helped form the National Federation of Indian Women, the women's wing of CPI but left the
party in 1956 following Nikita Khrushchev's disowning of Stalin. In 1958, she was elected the first Mayor
of Delhi. She was closely associated with social activists and secularists of her era like Krishna Menon,
Vimla Kapoor, Guru Radha Kishan, Premsagar Gupta, Rajani Palme Joti, Sarla Sharma and Subhadra Joshi for
social welfare and development in Delhi.
She and Narayanan started Link publishing house and published a daily newspaper, Patriot and a weekly,
Link the same year. The publications became prestigious due to the patronage of leaders such as Jawaharlal
Nehru, Krishna Menon and Biju Patnaik. Later she moved out of the publishing house due to internal
politics, stunned by greed taking over the creed of her comrades. Despite reservations about the
emergency, she remained close to Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
She died in New Delhi on 29 July 1996, aged 87.