Filing her nomination papers on the last day as an Independent candidate from Ward 27 of Ludhiana for the upcoming Municipal Corporation elections, 52-year old Banto Mahant, a third gender nominee, Tuesday questioned the political parties on denying tickets to her.
Mahant said that she has decided to contest as an Independent because of the love and support showered on her by the local people of her ward. “I am a kinnar. People also call us hijra and make fun of us. But the local people of my area never treated me as an untouchable. I had applied for a Congress ticket, but was denied one. Congress can answer it better why they ignored an applicant from the third gender community,” said Mahant who lives in Guru Nanak Nagar on 33 Foota Road.
Mahant added that civic problems in her area forced her to contest polls. “I feel bad when I see how children in our area skip school when it rains. Streets are filled with knee-deep water as there is no sewage system. Water supply is erratic. Roads are potholed. Local people here call me ammaji and guruji. They respect me. Whenever there is a wedding, I also get an invitation. They make me a part of their happiness and grief. When they asked me to contest, I could not deny,” she said.
She further said there were 95 wards. “Was giving just one ticket to a third gender that difficult? Then how will we become a part of the society. Political leaders should know it better why we have been ignored. Are we that bad? Or maybe because we are kinnar and hijras, nothing more than this. Our identity ends with these words. They should answer why we have not been given our right,” Mahant asked.
As many as 754 nominations were filed for 95 wards till Wednesday, including 462 on the last day. Highest 22 nominations have been received for Ward 31 and lowest two for Ward 67.