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In a first, a transgender woman was elected president of a gram panchayat (GP) unopposed in Mysuru district, Karnataka.
Devika belongs to a scheduled caste community and was elected member of the Saligrama gram panchayat on December 30. She became the president on Wednesday.
The 46-year-old has already selected the key areas where she wants to focus on.
"My priorities are providing quality education and healthcare for locals. I want to improve the local infrastructure through funds available in the GP," said Devika.
The Saligrama GP has 30 members. Devika contested as an independent candidate from ward number 7 which was reserved for SC women.
She did not take the support of any groups or local panels formed by various parties. In total, Devika secured 115 votes, winning by a margin of five votes.
Devika was born and brought up in Chunchanakatte and moved to Saligrama around four years ago in search of a livelihood.
Her journey has not been an easy one. She lost her parents 20 years ago. In Saligrama, she earned a living by collecting money from shops.
Devika thanked the transgender community who came forward in her support during elections.
"It is a proud moment for us all," The Times Of India quoted BA Paramesh, Mysuru zila panchayat, chief executive officer.
He further added that her appointment will send a strong message to all and make democracy more participatory. 'When people from all walks of life will join the democratic process, it will strengthen our institutions,' Paramesh said.
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