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'Politics is for serving the people'

By A GANESH NADAR
March 18, 2022 10:04 IST
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Priya Rajan is Chennai's third woman mayor, and at 28, its youngest.

IMAGE: Priya Rajan, Chennai's 28-year-old mayor. Photograph: ANI Photo
 

As Chennai's mayor, Priya Rajan has been entrusted with the responsibility of looking after the welfare of the city's 11,503,293 residents.

One of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's 153 Chennai city councilors, she had no idea that she would be made mayor till the decision was announced by her party.

She is the third woman mayor of Chennai and its youngest, apart from being the first Dalit to occupy the post.

Her grandfather Chengai Sivam was a three time DMK MLA. Her father Rajan has been in the DMK all his life.

"I became a member of the DMK at 18," the mayor tells Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar.

She credits her recent victory in the Chennai civic polls to her party and the work her father has done during his political career.

This was her first election. She says she has never stood for elections even in college.

Mother to a four-year-old daughter, how she juggles her personal life with professional demands highlights the challenges women face in the workplace.

"I am spending most of my time to fulfill my responsibilities mayor, so my mother, father and husband are looking after my daughter," says the mayor.

Her education (she is an MCom), she says, will help when preparing the budget for the Chennai corporation and also help her in her other duties as mayor.

She is clear she will follow the plans Chief Minister M K Stalin has created for the city. Stalin himself is a former Chennai mayor.

The plans include furthering Singara Chennai (beautifying the city), more storm water drains to avoid flooding, more avenues for drinking water, women's safety and improving the city's roads.

Her day is a long list of many meetings at the iconic Rippon Building housing the Chennai municipal corporation headquarters.

Her schedule also includes meeting Chennai-ites for an hour every day to try and resolve the problems they come to her with.

"So far they have all come to me with public problems and not personal ones," the mayor adds.

She plans to visit every ward in the city soon so that she can meet residents and also check on the work that is being done. There are 200 wards in the city.

"Politics is for serving the people," she says.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com

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A GANESH NADAR / Rediff.com
 
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