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Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Kathmandu, July 05, 2013
Nepal got its first and only gay parliamentarian after the 2008 constituent assembly election. But many more could join the list when results of the next election, due in November, are announced.

There are still doubts on election taking place on schedule, but the country’s first organization fighting for rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered and inter-sexed (LGBTI) is already ready.

The Blue Diamond Society has announced a list of 62 LGBT candidates who would contest the polls due on November 19.

“The candidates come from all across Nepal. We want political parties to give them tickets to contest,” says BDS founder Sunil Babu Pant, Nepal’s first openly gay parliamentarian.

Pant, a computer engineer by profession, had become an MP of the previous constituent assembly as a member of Communist Party of Nepal (United).

“If political parties deny tickets to LGBTs, they would contest as independent candidates. The number of candidates from the community can rise in coming days,” he said.

To ensure that doesn’t happen Pant is in talks with many parties who have agreed to fight for LGBT rights and even shown interest in fielding candidates.

“I hope my party gives me a ticket to contest from Kathmandu,” said Bhumika Shrestha, 26, a transgender who is a member of Nepali Congress, the country’s oldest party.

Pant also wants the election commission provide security, logistical support to LGBT candidates and provide separate queues at voting booths for members of the community.