Traditionally, the transgender community is one of the most under-represented groups in voters and political leadership. In 2014, the landmark Nalsa v/s Union of India decision by the Supreme Court of India granted equal rights to transgender persons thus marking a major step towards gender equality in our country. History was scripted and Lok Sabha polls 2014 saw five transgender candidates take the poll plunge. The momentum has sustained and at least six candidates are in the fray for LS polls 2019. Let’s meet them:
Contesting on the AAP ticket from Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh), Bhawani Valmiki is a social activist, a member of ‘Kinnar Akhada’ Mahamandaleshwar and has also served as a jury member of the Delhi international film festival. Valmiki, who is also known as ‘Bhawani Ma’ to the legions of her followers, has joined politics for social good and unemployment is her campaign pitch.
First transgender candidate from Tamil Nadu to contest in Lok Sabha elections, Radha is an independent candidate from Chennai South. Perturbed about the violence against women and children, she wants to fight for a death penalty for perpetrators of sexual violence. She has promised to address the local water solid waste management crisis.
Jatin Mummy contested from Mumbai northeast on a Durbal Ghatak Aghadi ticket. If voted to power, she would want to raise awareness of the problems faced by Jogati Kinnar Samaj, and work for the implementation of NALSA judgment for the welfare of the Kinnar community.
Crimes against transgender persons and a commitment to anti-caste principles are what drove Rajappan to enter politics. Rajappan, who contested as an independent candidate from Ernakulam is perhaps one of the youngest candidates in the fray for 2019 and wants to fight for equal representation of all marginalized communities.
Sneha, a graduate, contested from north-central Mumbai on a Durbal Ghatak Aghadi ticket. She belongs to the Kinnar Samaj and wants to fight for the rights of transgender people.
Naresh Jayshwal, who contested as an independent candidate from Ahmedabad East constituency had earlier contested unsuccessfully in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Elections. She bravely decided to take the poll plunge yet again this election.
This is India’s most gender inclusive Lok Sabha poll!