Six days ago, for the first time in her life, she had walked into the prestigious council hall of the Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation building to take oath as a Councillor of the ruling Marxist party.
Though she was the ‘baby’ among the councillors, a proud Arya Rajendran faced the sea of onlookers in front of her with confidence and took the oath with maturity.
But, that day, the 21-year-old college student-turned-councillor never thought that she would soon be coming 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.
Earlier, BJP leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had become the mayor of Nagpur Municipal Corporation at the age of 27.
According to party sources, the Thiruvananthapuram district secretariat of the ruling CPI (M), which met there on Friday, recommended Arya’s name for the post of mayor, which has to be ratified by the party’s state secretariat.
While replying to endless congratulatory messages from her modest rented house at Mudavanmukal in Thiruvananthapuram, 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 to me by my party. My dream is to take politics and my studies forward 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, Thiruvananthapuram.
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 Leftist party.
As a Mayor, her top priority would be waste management in the capital city, which has been a challenging task for her predecessors.
“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 wayside,” 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 quite 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, the Mayor-designate also said she wanted to continue with her studies as much as she could and to intervene in people’s problems and find solutions for them.
“I am a person who grew up listening to my father saying that it is not the individual, but the party which is supreme. I will continue as an obedient party comrade,” she added.
Actor Mohanlal, whose ancestral home is located in Mudavanmugal, called and congratulated Arya; the interaction 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 everybody’s expectations.