Transgender Sneha Kale to contest Lok Sabha
Elections as independent candidate from north central constituency
With an increase in enrollment of the third gender for the Lok Sabha polls as voters, Sneha Kale will be the first transgender to contest Lok Sabha polls from Mumbai. She declared her candidature from the north-central constituency as an independent candidate who wants to fight for the rights of the transgenders and neglected communities.
In its announcement about the Lok Sabha polls, Maharashtra election commission declared an increase in the voters’ percentage. Of which, the number of transgender voters have become double. “The awareness to enroll with the Commission has definitely increased among the citizens. In 2014, the registration was 918 which has become 2,086 now. We welcome the registration of transgenders and expect more to participate in the election process,” an official from the state election commission said.
Sneha Kale (26) works into the traditional business of transgenders, begging. She is a graduate but could not get any other employment. She works as a social worker in her community and wants to work for the neglected people in society. “I have been attached to the community for a long time now. We face all sorts of discrimination, disappointment and no acceptance in society. There are many communities like us who have no recognition in the society. There are beggars, destitute, physically challenged, widows, devdasis who never get the benefit of any government schemes. They are left out from the development process. They have no access to education, employment or house to stay. I want to raise their questions in the Parliament, as I am one of them. I decided to contest to raise their voice at the national level and draw public attention towards the issue,” said Sneha who stays in a lower-middle-class locality of Ghatkopar said.
At present, BJP’s Poonam Mahajan is the MP from the north central constituency. She had defeated Congress candidate Priya Dutt in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
When asked about her plan on contesting polls without any financial or social back up, she said the community would help. “I know that I am not like other candidates from big political parties. I have no money for campaigning of social backing for the polls. But my community is with me. There are many in the community who have encouraged me to contest the polls and take the challenge of at least going among the public with our agenda,” she said. She is eager to contest the polls, as it would be her first election ever in her lifetime.
A social activist from the area Vilas Rupvate encouraged her to contest the polls with the cause of neglected communities. He works for Maharashtra Niradhar Devdasi Mahila Sanghatana. “I have been working for Devdasis in the state. Their issues are different and they never get proper attention. There are nearly 2 lakh Devdasis in the state. Our idea was to contest the election so that the problems of these neglected, poor people can reach to the mainstream. Our issues are otherwise go unheard. We want those people from the neglected communities to contest polls in Maharashtra. Sneha has decided to contest from north-central constituency. We would support her in whichever way possible,” Rupvate said.
Courtesy: By Shruti Ganapatye / Mumbai Mirorr