Arya Rajendran, a 21-year-old CPI(M) leader, was sworn-in Monday as the youngest mayor of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, the largest urban body in Kerala.
Collector Navjot Khosa administered the oath of office to Rajendran inside a tightly-packed, history-in-the-making council hall after the latter was elected mayor with 54 votes out of 99 votes cast.
The election of the 21-year-old was a foregone conclusion as the CPM-led LDF had 51 members in the 100-member council. The BJP, which had campaigned extensively this time in the hope of capturing power in the corporation, stood second with 34 members and the Congress-led UDF in third place with 10 members. Five members were Independents.
In the mayoral election, while one CPM member’s vote was invalid, Rajendran is believed to have got 50 votes of the LDF and support of four Independents. One member couldn’t attend the proceedings as he was in quarantine. The election for deputy mayor, also likely to be won by the LDF, will take place in the afternoon.
Rajendran’s first formal function as the mayor of Thiruvananthapuram will be at a programme organised by Balasangham, the children’s outfit of the CPI(M) of which she is the state president.
Rajendran’s nomination to the mayor’s post, which is reserved for women this time, was a surprise choice by the CPI(M) last week and seen as the party’s strategy to thank younger voters who stood with them in this election. The party chose Rajendran as she’s been with the CPM since class five when she took membership in the Balasangham and her family have been supporters of the CPI(M) for many decades.
Luck dawned on the 21-year-old also because two of the women mayoral candidates of the CPI(M) were defeated in the election.