Chennai: “I would love to continue to serve people, my regular customers by driving autorickshaw,” says K Saravanan, an autorickshaw driver who was days ago elected mayor of the Kumbakonam municipal corporation in Tamil Nadu’s Cauvery delta region.
“When I was elected mayor, my regular customers were happy. But they wondered as to how they could expect me to drive autorickshaw for them”, he said.
Though the government has given him an SUV and a driver for his official use, Saravanan says he has a wish and that is to serve his customers.
Out of the about 1,200 families in his 17th ward of the corporation, he says at least 100 of them are pretty close to him and they have all along used his services.
A doctor and a school headmaster are among the many people who are Saravanan’s regular customers.
“My desire is that I should continue to serve them by taking them in my autorickshaw as and when possible,” he told PTI.
Now, he said he is in the process of understanding his official role and the time he has to devote to fulfill his mayoral responsibilities.
Importantly, he says he is lining up priorities for people’s welfare like revamping the underground drainage system. Once, everything fell into place, 42-year old Saravanan says he would love to spare time to serve people by driving autorickshaw.
“Even now, my autorickshaw is not idle and a relative is now driving it for my customers and I have told people that they may please continue to call me for their requirements,” he says with a smile.
Good understanding of the city’s topography, civic woes, people’s expectations and tasks that needed immediate attention and his dedicated work for the party over the years and the faith of his leaders on him were the factors behind his success, he says.
Twenty years of experience as an autodriver in Kumbakonam took him to the nook and cranny of the delta town and naturally it has bestowed him with a wealth of knowledge on the city and its people. On March 4, when Saravanan was elected by ward members as mayor, he drove his autorickshaw to the corporation office to assume office.
A Congress candidate, out of the total 2,100 votes polled in the 17th ward, he garnered 964 votes and won. This is the first time Saravanan fought polls and won as a ward member and was subsequently elected mayor. He is the first mayor of Kumbakonam corporation.
After the government upgraded Kumbakonam municipality to a municipal corporation in December 2021, civic polls were held in February this year.
Saravanan belongs to a Congress family and he is the city deputy president of the national party, which he joined 20 years ago.
“I started from the basic level, working at the level of ward in the party, worked for the youth Congress, grew in a phased manner and today I am shouldering this responsibility.” Out of the total 48 wards, Congress party was allotted 2 wards by the DMK and both the nominees of the national party won.
Saravanan went to school upto class 6 and he is married and lives with his wife and 3 sons in a rented house on Thukkampalayam street in Kumbakonam.
The DMK-led alliance won the Kumabakonam municipal corporation as well like the 20 other corporations in Tamil Nadu.