In yet another first, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fielded its first transgender candidate - Bhawani Nath Valmiki from Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh on Friday. She will be contesting against BJP’s Rita Bahugana Joshi, a cabinet minister in the UP government.
The party made the announcement with a tweet on social media, captioned 'Every voice matters':
Valmiki, 46, a member of ‘Kinnar Akhada’, is a social activist as well as a former jury member of the Delhi international film festival.
Hoping that Valmiki wins in the Lok Sabha polls 2019 and becomes first transgender to become the Member of Parliament, AAP leader Sanjay Singh asserted that the party has supreme respect for the transgenger community.
"The AAP has utmost respect for the community, and this move of ours proves it," Singh said.
This development has come after a series of transgender nominations in the upcoming Lok Sabha 2019 elections.
In November 2018, Telangana saw the first transgender nominee from the Bahujan Left Front (BLF) with Chandramukhi, a 30-year old activist contesting for Hyderabad’s Goshmahal Constituency against the current BJP MLA Raja Singh in the Assembly elections.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Chandramukhi said:
“I entered into politics to change policies. Being an activist, I have fought for the rights of transgenders.”
Meanwhile, Tamanna Simhadri, an independent transgender candidate who filed her nomination for Andhra Pradesh's Mangalagiri constituency is all set to take on TDP (Telugu Desam Party) chief Chandrababu Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh.
On March 16, 2019, BSP too had fielded a transgender candidate named Kajal Nayak, president of Jajpur's Transgender Association in Odisha, for the Korei assembly seat in ensuing state polls.