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Communist Party of India (Marxist) councillor Arya Rajendran becomes country’s youngest mayor at age of 21

COMMUNIST Party of India (Marxist) councillor Arya Rajendran made history on Monday as she became the country’s youngest mayor of a major city.

The Left Democratic Front (LDF), which also forms the state government, triumphed in the elections to local authorities, winning in more than half of all village councils, two-thirds of district councils and in five out of six municipal corporations.

The 21-year-old maths student, a CPI(M) member and activist since secondary school, was elected mayor of Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram corporation after being proposed as the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate for the post. 

Thiruvananthapuram, formerly and informally known as Trivandrum, is the southern state’s capital, with a population of almost a million people.

Ms Rajendran comes from what her electrician father describes as “a political family,” with her mother and brother also CPI(M) members.

She said her active involvement in campaigning started in class five, when she joined the CPI(M) children’s collective in Baalasangham.

“Later, I became the district president, and have been state chief of the Baalasangham for the past two years. Due to my active role in the Baalasangham, I was taken into the Students’ Federation of India (CPM students’ wing) and I am part of its state committee,” Ms Rajendran explained.

Kerala’s Health Minister KK Shailaja is cited as one of her inspirations “for the amazing work she has done” during the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the state’s efforts receive international praise.

Outside of politics, Sugathakumari, a veteran Malayalam poet and activist who died this week, and prominent Malayalam writer KR Meera are her role models.

Thiruvananthapuram minister Kadakampally Surendran said: “The youth and new generation, they are the future of this country. They have clarity about the need for transparent systems, they have bigger dreams and a vision. Arya has experience, she is very good.” 

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