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Breaking Stereotypes, This 21-Year-Old in Kerala is Set to Become India's Youngest Mayor

Arya Rajendran, a second year student, said she was yet to get official confirmation from her party about the new responsibility.
ARya rajendran.

Thiruvananthapuram: For the first time in life, she had walked into the prestigious council hall of the capital city's Municipal Corporation building six days ago to take oath as a Councillor of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Though she was the 'baby' among the councillors, the proud Arya Rajendran faced the sea of onlookers in front of her with confidence and uttered the oath with sheer maturity.

But, that day, the 21-year old college student-turned-councillor never thought that she could soon come back to the historic council hall as its supremo-the Mayor.

If everything goes as expected, Arya, now a second year graduation student of a city college, would not only become the new Mayor of Kerala's capital, a position held by several significant personalities in the past, but also the youngest ever Mayor in the country.

According to party sources, the Thiruvananthapuram district secretariat of the ruling CPI(M), which met here on Friday, recommended Arya's name for the post of mayor, which has to be ratified by the party's state secretariat.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis had become the mayor of Nagpur Municipal Corporation at the age of 27.

While replying to endless congratulatory messages from her modest rented house at Mudavanmukal here, Arya said she was yet to get official confirmation from her party about the new responsibility.

A staunch party activist hailing from a hardcore Marxist family, she said maturity and leadership qualities cannot be measured with anyone's age.

"I have faced the election with confidence and courage. I am ready to shoulder any responsibility entrusted with me by my party. My dream is to take forward politics and my studies together," she said.

Daughter of CPI(M) activist K Rajendran, an electrician by profession, and Sreelatha, an LIC agent, Arya is a B.Sc Maths second year student at the All Saints College here.

She had won from the Mudavanmughal ward of the city Corporation, garnering 2,872 votes, 549 votes more than the rival Congress candidate.

A state committee member of the Students Federation of India (SFI), she is also the state president of Balasangam, the children's wing of the Left party.

As a Mayor, her top priority would be waste management in the capital city, which has been a challenging task for her predecessors also.

"Our city is beautiful. To keep it like this, it should be free of waste. Besides a scientific waste management system, a thorough awareness is needed among people not to dump waste on the waysides," Arya said.

As a councillor, she wanted a family health centre in her ward and to implement programmes to reduce stress among children.

Saying that her college teachers and friends were very much supportive of her political stint, Arya said she also wanted to find time to prepare for three semester exams she had missed due to the election campaign.

An ardent fan of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in politics and superstar Mohanlal in cinema, Arya also said she wanted to continue her studies as much as she can and to intervene in people's issues and find a solution for that.

"I am a person who grew up listening to my father saying that it is not individual, but party which is supreme. I will continue as an obedient party comrade," she added.

Actor Mohanlal, whose ancestral home is located at Mudavanmugal, called and congratulated Arya, which was aired by party news channel, 'People' on Saturday.

An excited Arya thanked him for his wishes and hoped that she would live up to the expectations of all.

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