While 21-year-old Arya Rajendran was elected Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram, four other young women from the CPI(M) will head other local bodies.

Collage of Radhika Saruthi Anas and Reshma who head Kerala local bodies From Left- Radhika, Saruthi, Anas and Reshma
news Kerala Local Bodies Wednesday, December 30, 2020 - 16:38

Saruthi has to attend an exam on Insurance Laws on Tuesday, a day before she was elected President of the Olavanna grama panchayat in Kerala’s Kozhikode. The 22-year-old law student sworn in on Wednesday.

Saruthi is one among the young leaders of the CPI(M) who have been chosen to run some of the local body institutions in the state. The results of the local body polls, which were held in three phases earlier this month, were announced on December 16. The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), led by the CPI(M), won a thumping victory in the elections. The CPI(M) chose a few youths to head the local bodies, who were all elected through voting on Monday.

21-year-old Arya Rajendran, who was elected as the Thiruvananthapuram Mayor on Monday, made headlines for being the youngest in the country to hold the post.

Saruthi, 22, President, Olavanna grama panchayat, Kozhikode

It is crucial that youth head civic bodies, Saruthi believes, as it’s time that everyone discloses their political identity.

“This is the beginning of a great change. The youth in the country were becoming largely apolitical and that has to change. It’s time everyone is vocal about their politics, irrespective of wherever their political allegiance lies,” Saruthi tells TNM.

Saruthi won the elections from the Iringallur ward of the Olavanna panchayat. “It’s a challenge to head a panchayat at this age; but I’m glad that I’m also becoming a part of history. This a responsibility assigned to me by my party,” she says.

She studies at Bhavan’s Law College in Kozhikode and the exams that had been postponed earlier are happening now. “I don’t want to miss the exams as writing them later would be even tougher,” she says. Her mother M Rajeena is CPI(M) Iringallur Branch Committee member while her father is a party sympathiser.

Saruthi had taken over running a ration shop in Iringallur in April during the lockdown after the shop owner tested positive for coronavirus. “Most people didn’t have jobs at that time and the government had started distributing grocery kits,” she recalls.

She had also grabbed attention by riding a Bullet motorcycle, photos of which were used in posters during the election campaign. She is a member of the CPI(M) Branch Committee and Joint Secretary of DYFI (Democratic Youth Federation of India – the youth wing of the CPI(M)) – Iringallur regional committee.

Reshma Mariam Roy, 21, President, Aruvapulam panchayat, Pathanamthitta

Reshma turned 21 the day before the last day for submitting nominations for the local body polls. She contested from the Ootupara ward in the panchayat in Pathanamthitta district. A member of the CPI(M) Oottupara branch, Students’ Federation of India (SFI) District Secretariat and of DYFI District Committee, Reshma is a graduate in Business Studies. LDF came back to power in the panchayat after 20 years.

“Young people being given such opportunities is a qualitative change and a historic decision,” Reshma told the media, adding that she is more proud than happy in being assigned to the post. Reshma is the daughter of Roy T Mathew and Mini Roy.

Radhika Madhavan, 23, President, Malampuzha panchayat, Palakkad

Radhika is a postgraduate in Malayalam from Victoria College, Palakkad. She has worked as a teacher at the Anakallu tribal school. She was an active SFI worker at her college. She is the daughter of Madhavan and Santha of Kollamkunnu.

Anas Rosna Stephi, 23, President, Pozhuthana panchayat, Wayanad

Anas was chosen as the local body polls candidate while she was doing her postgraduation in distance education. She contested the elections from a general seat, not one reserved for women. Her entry to politics was also through SFI.

Also Read: Meet 21-year-old Arya Rajendran, the new Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram


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