Damayanti Majhi, a 21-year-old slum woman, has become the youngest deputy mayor of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) and also the first tribal to hold the post in the city.
The Santhali woman, a first-generation learner, studying MCom at Ravenshaw University, was elected unopposed on April 7. As per government authorities, she is the youngest deputy mayor ever in the state.
Born in Cuttack's Balisahi slum, Damayanti is the eldest of three siblings, two sisters and a brother, all of whom are students. She lost her father in 2017 and her mother works as a daily worker to meet their livelihood.
No Surprise For Her
According to The Times of India, it was no surprise for her when the ruling party Biju Janata Dal (BJD) nominated her name for the second top post in Cuttack Municipal Corporation.
She fought the municipal election from ward 49 on a BJD ticket in the recently concluded urban body polls and was elected as the youngest corporator of the city.
"I was entirely new to politics. Since the corporator's post in our ward is reserved for a scheduled tribe (ST) candidate, the ruling party approached me to be the party's nominee for it," she told The Times of India.
Thanking party president, chief minister Naveen Patnaik, BJD workers and people from her constituency, Damayanti said she will continue working for all of them.
Wants To Solve Long-Standing Problems In Cuttack
As the deputy mayor, her priority will be to resolve the long-standing problems of the city. "Poor drainage, traffic snarls, waterlogging problems, irregular water supply and defunct street lights are some of the civic issues in Cuttack. My main focus will be to address such problems everyone's help and guidance," she said.
On how will she juggle studies and politics, the 21-year-old said she will give equal importance to both. "I will soon earn my master's degree and devote all my time to full-time politics thereafter," she added.
Damayanti was declared a winner after the rivals, BJP and Congress corporators, staged a walkout during the deputy mayor election scheduled in Cuttack's Saheed Bhawan. The parties were protesting against the new rules of open ballots in the deputy mayoral election and called them undemocratic.