Never in the history of Chennai has a female representative from the Dalit community held the position of the city Mayor. This is set to change with the appointment of DMK's Priya Rajan, a 28-year-old M.Com. graduate.
Rajan just became the first Dalit woman to hold the position of the Mayor of Chennai Corporation.
Greater Chennai Corporation gets its youngest and first Dalit woman mayor. DMK's R Priya takes the oath of office in #Chennai. The 28-year-old is the city's third woman mayor. pic.twitter.com/itul7stLUM— Karthigaichelvan S (@karthickselvaa) March 4, 2022
Her appointment comes after the state government had passed an order reserving the post for a Scheduled Caste woman, this January. R Priya will be Chennai’s third woman mayor after Tara Cherian and Kamakshi Jayaraman and one among the young candidates to win a councillor post.
Her election is important as she will be taking over as councillor of ward 74, Mangalapuram making her the first mayor from North Chennai. This part of Chennai is the most neglected area when it comes to basic infrastructure and amenities like drinking water and electricity.
R Priya has been in the party cadre from the age of 18 and her father is also the area co-secretary for the DMK. But her interest in politics and passion to help her neighbourhood was reignited when the DMK came back to power in the state in last year’s Assembly elections. Talking to TNM, she said:
I saw that the CM is trying to make a difference, I wanted to be a part of it. There are many issues that this neighbourhood faces. Water comes mostly only on alternate days, the roads need to be improved. There are electricity concerns.
She believes in the younger generation's ability to bring about the needed change.
They will have new ideas, new energy. They will have fresh ways of seeing things. This is needed.
Twitter is appreciating the change in the political setup of Chennai.
The Chennai/Madras Corporation was established in 1688. It took 334 years for a Dalit woman to become the Mayor of Chennai. R Priya, 28, DMK, smashed the barriers of gender & caste. This happened in the regime of @mkstalin— Dilip Mandal (@Profdilipmandal) March 4, 2022
Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangaluru… are you listening? pic.twitter.com/bfxOz6wk8h
Small but revolutionary step. https://t.co/GxID6nwpbv— Sunny Dhiman Wakker (@sunnywakker) March 4, 2022
The young Mayor is giving us hopes of better governance in Chennai.