1st in Karnataka: Transgender woman elected gram panchayat head | Mysuru News – Times of India


MYSURU: In a first for Karnataka, a transgender woman has been elected unopposed president of a gram panchayat (GP) in Mysuru district.
Devika, who belongs to a scheduled caste community, was elected member of the Saligrama GP on December 30 and on Wednesday, became its president.
“My priorities are providing quality education and healthcare for locals. I want to improve the local infrastructure through funds available in the GP,” said the 46-year-old. The Saligrama GP has 30 members.
Devika won as an independent from ward number 7 which was reserved for SC women. Canvassing on her own, without the support of any groups or local panels formed by various parties, she secured 115 votes, winning by a margin of five votes.
‘Transgender community worked hard for my win’
Born and brought up in Chunchanakatte, Devika moved to Saligrama four years ago in search of a livelihood. “I lost my parents 20 years ago. I had no plans to contest the the GP elections or the presidential election,” she said. In Saligrama, her earnings are mainly from money collected from shops.
“Today morning, members urged me to contest for the president’s post and elected me unopposed. My transgender community worked hard for my election,” she said.
Residents said Devika has been putting in a lot of work for developmental activities since her election. “She is winning the hearts of all,” said a villager.
“It is a proud moment for us all,” said BA Paramesh, Mysuru zila panchayat chief executive officer. “It will send a strong message to all and make democracy more participatory. People from all walks of life will join the democratic process which will strengthen our institutions. It will also encourage those from disadvantaged sections to come forward.”
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Sagar Biswas

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