THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Though the CPM-led LDF won with a clear majority in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, the mayor probables fielded by the party lost their sitting seats. A majority of woman candidates fielded by CPM in 46 of the total 70 seats came out victorious. A G Oleena, one of the mayor probables backed by the Left, contested from Kunnukuzhy division — a sitting seat of LDF, but she lost to UDF candidate Mary Pushpam A.
Pushpalatha S, another mayor probable of the LDF who contested from Nedumcaud, lost to BJP for the first time inher sitting seat. It might be an uphill task now for the party to come up with a suitable woman mayor for the capital city, as the options are aplenty. The party will have to pick either the most experienced elect, or give a chance to a young mayor just like they did in the last term, when V K Prasanth was made the mayor.
Sixty-five-year-old Jameela Sreedharan, who contested from Peroorkada, is on top of the chart of possible mayor candidates. For Jameela, daughter of veteran CPM leader N Sreedharan and T V Padmavathi, this was her first time contesting the local body elections. Jameela, who retired as the joint director of Kerala Police Forensic Science Laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram, has also served as a member of the PSC (Public Services Commission).
“I didn’t have any plans to contest, but there was tremendous pressure from the party. My father’s relationship with the party made it hard for me to say no. I am happy that I won, and the credit goes to the relentless work done by the previous LDF councillor. During the campaigning days, I realised that my victory is assured, as the residents were happy with the development activities carried out by the LDF in Peroorkada division,” said Jameela. She said that her focus would be to continue the ongoing development activities and work at the grass-root level for the welfare of the people.
Another suitable mayor candidate is Gayathri Babu, a PhD scholar and daughter of outgoing councillor of Vanchiyoor ward Vanchiyoor Babu. Gayathri, who finished her Masters’ from Pondicherry Central University, is in her early 20s. She didn’t have to think twice to say yes to contesting this year’s election from a seat reserved for women. She is proud to have won at a margin of 226 votes, while her father won with a difference of just three votes in the last elections.
“LDF won Vanchiyoor division for the first time during the last term and the party was determined to retain the seat,” said Gayathri. She is planning to focus on improving basic civic infrastructure including community halls and playgrounds. “During the last term, a lot of development activities were undertaken in this division and I want to continue that pace. Another issue I want to focus on is unemployment. I want to help people, especially women, explore entrepreneurship as the state government is offering a lot of options,” says Gayathri.
Saranya S S who contested from Kannamoola and Arya S who contested from Mudavanmughal are also among young candidates who won their debut elections.