As the youngest mayor of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, the largest urban organization in Kerala, Arya Rajendran, a 21-year-old CPI(M) chief, was sworn-in on Monday. Within a tightly packed, history-in-the making council hall, Collector Navjot Khosa administered the oath of office to Rajendran after the latter was elected mayor with 54 votes out of 99 votes cast.
As the CPM-led LDF had 51 members on the 100-member council, the election of the 21-year-old was a foregone conclusion. With 34 members, and the Congress-led UDF in third place with 10 members, the BJP, which had campaigned extensively this time in hopes of gaining power in the business, stood second. There were five Independent Members.
In the mayoral election, though one CPM member’s vote was invalid, Rajendran is believed to have got 50 votes of the LDF and support of four Independents. As he was in quarantine, one participant couldn’t attend the proceedings. In the afternoon, the race for deputy mayor, also likely to be won by the LDF, will take place.
The first formal role of Rajendran as Thiruvananthapuram’s mayor will be in a program organized by Balasangham, the CPI(M) children’s organization 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 even because two of the woman mayoral candidates of the CPI(M) were defeated in the race.