Lok Sabha elections 2019: Transgender candidates vow to clean corruption
Though two transgender persons are standing for ongoing general elections, from Kushinagar and Allahabad (renamed Prayagraj) constituencies, Lucknow resident and transwoman Payal Kinnar (41), who runs a gym in her colony, feels that the community needs more than candidates standing for elections. It requires favourable political will.
Contesting Allahabad parliamentary seat is Bhawani Nath Valmiki or Bhawani Maa, who will take on Rita Bahuguna Joshi of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Rajendra Pratap Singh of Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance, on May 12, as the Aam Admi Party’s candidate. In Kushinagar, Guddi Kinnar will contest as an independent against former Union minister from Congress RPN Singh and Vijay Dubey of the BJP. The seat goes to polls on May 19.
“The community (faces immense) social stigma, struggling to get even basic facilities like medical treatment and benefit of government schemes.” “[We are] a miniscule minority,” she said, which may be one of the reasons for the disinterest shown by politicians, towards them.
Uttar Pradesh has 8,374 registered transgender voters. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the total number of “third gender” voters is 41,292, a rise of about 45% from the figures of 2014, when the Election Commission first started the category.
“There has been no campaign by the district administration to reach out to us. We remain an isolated fraternity,” Payal said.
Joint chief electoral officer Alka Varma said, “It is not true that we are not doing anything to create awareness among transgenders. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has roped in transgender model Bishesh Huirem to generate awareness. Huirem is the one who represented India at the Miss International Queen in Thailand in 2016.”
“Meeting people personally develops a strong bond which I feel is essential to understand the needs of the people and allow them to assess you,” said Bhawani (46), the mahamandaleshwar of Kinnar Akhada (a monastic order). In Kushinagar, Guddi Kinnar (48) is confident of her victory as she claims to be contesting polls on the development plank. “There is a lot of poverty in our region and that is evident from Musahar community...”