A 22-year-old, final year MA English Literature student at Christ College, Bengaluru, Johnys P Stephen will become one of the youngest panchayat presidents in the country after he assumes the office in a few days from now. He was unanimously chosen as the president of the Uzhavoor panchayat in Kerala’s Kottayam as per an agreement reached by the United Democratic Front (UDF) leadership.
Johnys P Stephen won from the 4th ward of the Uzhavoor panchayat as an independent candidate supported by the ‘One India One Pension’ (OIOP) group. He won the election by defeating five other candidates from opposition fronts with a huge majority of 194 votes out of the total 675 votes polled.
The young man says that after both the major fronts approached him, the OIOP committee decided to join hands with the UDF after he held discussions with both. The agreement was signed on Monday morning stating that Johnys will be president for the first 2.5 years, after which he will resign and make way for the UDF’s candidate.
He was formerly an office-bearer of the Kottayam Diocesan Youth Movement and was also a part of the Malayala Samajam of St Stephen’s College, Uzhavoor, where he studied BA Literature. He gives the credit of his victory to the local residents who motivated him to contest the elections
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“For me, women, children and the elderly are most important. I’ll ensure that the funds of the panchayat reach them without fail. Presently, we don’t have a place where the elders can assemble and intermingle. That gap will be bridged,” he says. He has further promised a cultural centre for fostering arts and culture in children.
“I’d like to make use of the NRI funds for the development of the ward,” he says. He wants to take this step so that he does not have to rely on the panchayat funds only.
On his victory, Johnys says that people belonging to all sections voted for him setting aside the political considerations. As president of the Uzhavoor panchayat, he says his first goal is to make the panchayat office accessible to all sections of society.
While his aim is to complete his Master’s degree, he says that his first priority is to serve the people of panchayat as a social worker. After serving the panchayat, he dreams of qualifying for the civil services.
(With inputs from The News minute.)