Chennai’s first Dalit mayor: DMK’s Priya Rajan
Priya Rajan is just 28 years old. Being a DMK candidate, she got elected unopposed for the post of Chennai mayor on Friday. Since the corporation was established, she has been set to become Chennai’s first Dalit woman mayor.
For the first time in history, Dalit women would hold up the post of mayor in Chennai, which is a very proud step that Chennai has taken. The opportunity is given to women and specifically to a woman hailing from a backward community is such a choice of empowerment.
These steps must be taken more often, where young women like Priya can come up and join hands to serve the people as well the community.
DMK has a majority in Greater Chennai municipal corporation for where DMK had nominated her. She has a master’s degree in commerce and won from ward 74 in Thiru.vi.ka.Nagar zone.
Priya got administered the oath of office by greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagan Singh Bedi. She became the 49th mayor of Chennai.
Priya, a first-time councillor, is just 28 years old and a commerce post-graduate. She is the first Dalit mayor and a third woman mayor of Chennai Corporation.
State Health Minister M.A. Subramanian and HR & CE Sekar Babu gave her the ceremonial robe and mace.
R.Priya thanked Chief Minister M.K Stalin, Health minister Ma Subramanian, HR&CE Minister, P.K. Sekar Babu, and all the people of Chennai after accepting the new office.
Corporations officials said that the council’s next meeting with the mayor and commissioner would be held after consultations.
The issues that will be discussed in council meetings will be related to civic matters and passing resolutions in 15 zones of the city.
The indirect elections took place in local bodies across the state on Friday concerning the posts of mayor, deputy mayor, chairperson, and vice-chairperson. The ceremony of swearing-in for the unopposed elected candidates commenced around 9.30 am.
Most local bodies’ polls were held smoothly, but in pudukkotai, the Annavasal town panchayat experienced party functionaries were pelting stones on police personnel who were deployed for security reasons.
At the beginning of this year, in January, the state government led by DMK has passed an order to reserve a post of mayor for a Scheduled Caste woman.
After Tara Cherian and Kamakshi Jayaraman, Priya became the third woman mayor of Chennai. Also, Priya became the first mayor who was elected from North Chennai, whereas her predecessors had dominancy in South Chennai.
Tamil Nadu’s election for mayor was an indirect poll which means they will not be elected directly by the people. The Tamil Nadu government had reserved the seat for women in which dozens of women from DMK went for elections, from which finally, Priya succeeded and won the seat. Priya received ward 74 in Mangalapuram, Thiru Vi Ka Nagar in North Chennai as a DMK Councilor. Since she was 18 years old, she had been a DMK cadre, and now she is officially posted as a councillor.
She is the granddaughter of the former DMK MLA of Perambur, Chengai Sivam, and her father Rajan is the joint secretary of DMK in their region. Being an M.Com Graduate, she will now manoeuvre the post of Chennai’s mayor, which was once held by Chief Minister MK Stalin.
Priya’s message to the young generations
Talking to one of the news agencies, Priya told about her motivation to enter politics. She said the DMK’s comeback in power in 2021 had pushed her to enter politics and gave rise to the passion for helping her neighbourhood.
She has completed her graduation from Sri Kanyaka Parameswari Arts and Science College for Women in Geroge Town, and she focussed on the view that how important it is for the young generation to be a part of politics. She vows that she wanted to be a part of MK Stalin’s path of making a difference.
Priya being chosen as the 49th Mayor of Chennai, the people from her ward and area hope to see new changes around them and an area that will have an excellent infrastructure. North Chennai extensively lacks necessities as well as infrastructure.
Though Priya knows her journey as political personnel would never be easy, she insists that all young aspirants of politics set their priorities right and serve the people.
There are several neighbourhoods in North Chennai that are deprived of some basic facilities such as having proper drinking water, electricity, or sanitization facilities. As the people of the area were being left to deal with all these problems on their own, so they gave a thought to elect Priya; being one amongst themselves, she could better feel their grievances.
Priya is a young councillor of Chennai, and Priyadarshini, a candidate of CPI(M), is just 21 years old, being the youngest one who won from ward 98 in Teynampet.
According to the press release that was issued by the party, there were overall 20 names (9 men and 11 women) announced for the mayor’s post and 15 names (10 men and 5 women) announced for deputy mayor posts.
Of all the representatives, 20 had completed their undergraduate studies, and 11 representatives had completed their post-graduate degrees.
On Thursday, when DMK announced that Priya would be their party’s mayoral candidate for Chennai, then later, she said that she would be working upon empowering women. Also, roads and sanitation will be her topmost priorities.
It must be noted that Chennai has got its mayor almost after six years, where previously ADMK’s Saidai Duraisamy held the post up till October 2016.
DMK, out of a total of 200 wards, has 153 councillors in Greater Chennai Corporation.
The ruling party has 25 councillors with allies.
On Friday, Priya Rajan was elected to the top office in the city, which is treated as a formality as the government is holding direct elections.
Along with this, all the mayoral candidates from the ruling party, that is DMK, have emerged as victorious candidates in indirect polls.
Edited by Prakriti Arora