Johnys P Stephen, formerly an online film reviewer, has become one of India’s youngest panchayat presidents. All of 22, Stephen is a final year student pursuing MA in English Literature at Bengaluru’s Christ Deemed-to-be-University, reported the Indian Express.
He is now preparing himself to become the president of Kerala’s Uzhavoor panchayat on December 30, where he was elected to power as an independent candidate. Stephen had won in the the recently concluded local body elections in Kerala by a margin of 194 votes out of a total of 675 votes.
With the support of the One India One Pension’ (OIOP) group, he was able to defeat the nominees of the Left Democratic Front (LDF), the United Democratic Front (UDF), and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Areekkara – Uzhavoor’s fourth ward.
According to a report by The News Minute, Stephen will occupy the position of panchayat president for two and a half years. He was approached by members of both the major front of Kerala and decided to join UDF after consulting OIOP. As per their agreement, a UDF candidate will take over for the rest of the five-year term.
Speaking about his plans for the ward, the 22-year-old leader said: “For me, women, children and the elderly are most important. I will ensure that the funds of the panchayat reach them without fail… Presently, we do not have a place where the elders can assemble and intermingle. That gap will be bridged.”
The young panchayat president wishes to complete his master’s degree before starting preparations for cracking the civil service exams. However, he has assured that his priority will be to serve the people of his panchayat.