On Monday 28th December 2020, Arya Rajendran a 21-year-old graduate student from Kerala created history becoming the youngest Mayor in the country. She was elected as the Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram corporation, the largest urban body in Kerala. Arya, a second-year BSc Mathematicss student of the All Saints College here, won from the Mudavanmughal ward of the city corporation, bagging 2,872 votes, 549 more than the rival Congress candidate. The Thiruvananthapuram district secretariat of the ruling CPI(M) had recommended Arya Rajendran’s name for the post of Mayor as two of their Mayor candidates of CPI(M) failed to win the election from their respective wards. After she was elected Mayor, Arya took the oath administered by Collector Navjot Khosa inside the closely packed council hall of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation.
Arya Rajendran began her political journey as a child activist in Balasangam, the children’s wing of CPI(M) in Kerala. At present, she is the state president of Balasangam and state committee member of Student’s Federation of India (SFI).
As a staunch party activist hailing from a hardcore Marxist family, she said: “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.”
Arya being elected as the mayor of the capital city of Kerala in itself is a declaration from CPI(M), that age and gender will never be used as a constraint in determining a true leader. She is redefining the existing norms by setting an example to the youth, especially girls who are reluctant to come to the forefront of politics at a young age.
When asked about her role model, Arya was quick and clear with her answer.
“When it is a party like the LDF (Left Democratic Front) there will be many people to be cited as models – it is a party of cadres. Like our respected Chief Minister who has proven to be a crisis manager during these difficult times, and the influence he’s had on the common man. It is very important to be a leader who stands with the people at times of crisis,” she said.
Arya being elected as the Mayor of the capital city can be seen as the first of many changes from CPI(M) in Kerala ahead of the forthcoming assembly elections. After a stunning victory in the civic election across the state, CPI(M) is aiming to continue their winning streak to the upcoming assembly elections and thereby creating the history of becoming the first government to continue for two consecutive terms since its inception in 1950.