In A First, Transgender Becomes Sarpanch In A Gram Panchayat In Maharashtra
Dnyaneshwar Kamble, 40, was elected as Maharashtra’s first ever transgender sarpanch on 17 October in the gram panchayat elections in Tarangfal village of Solapur, one of 4,000 panchayats went to polls Monday.
Kamble being chosen as the Sarpanch has been described as the first direct one to the post in Maharashtra under the Maharashtra Gram Panchayat Act of 1958. Till date, the sarpanch had been elected from among elected representatives.
Tarangfal has a population of 1,800 with 1,600 voters. Kamble, who contested on a BJP ticket, polled 868 votes to defeat NCP rival Jaysingh Salve by 167. The village has three wards, and Kamble had to get votes from all three wards to win. The victory was followed by celebrations by party workers who threw gulal in the air, burst crackers and distributed sweets.
Kamble is ecstatic after the win, but at the same time, she is deeply saddened by the fact that others in her community are not treated similarly. The fact that transgenders are on the periphery of the society is nothing new. Kamble just reiterates the fact that even if transgenders are educated, they do not get respect from the society.
She said, “…We want respect and to be treated on par with another citizen.That I defeated a person, who is a not a transgender shows people love me,” The Indian Express reported.
Kamble intends to focus on lok seva (welfare of the people) and gram seva (welfare of the village/society). Villagers in her area still defecate in the open – Kamble said she would concentrate on making her village open defecation.
She is a Standard VII dropout, but she regrets not completing her education. Kamble would also focus on providing better education to the villagers.
The Logical Indian community appreciates the fact how people have chosen Kamble as their representative. Kamble and many others have been on the receiving end of social ostracisation. A move like this works as an encouragement for the entire society. We hope this acts a precedent for others as well.