Transgender activist and motivational speaker Akkai Padmashali will officially join the Congress party on Sunday in an event scheduled to be held in Bengaluru in the presence of party’s Karnataka chief D K Shivakumar and Congress Legislative Party leader Siddaramaiah.
Padmashali is the first transgender person to be conferred with the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award — the second-highest civilian honour of the state — in 2015. She is also known for her stints as a social activist, a lecturer in several colleges across Bengaluru, and as a classically-trained singer.
In an exclusive interview with indianexpress.com where she announced her decision to enter mainstream politics, Padmashali said, “The Indian National Congress is known for being quite outspoken on issues faced by minorities including the transgender community. My decision to join the party coincides with the observation that there is no political voice from within the party now to represent such issues from a first-hand perspective.”
Padmashali further linked her decision to join the Congress to the “threat faced by the Indian Constitution from right-wing forces”.
“This is part of my ideological efforts as well to ensure protection to the Indian Constitution and people’s rights which are highly at stake now. The right to dissent is now being limited, especially after (journalist-activist) Gauri Lankesh’s assassination in 2017 and vested interests and trying to shut down the society by various means,” she said.
Also the person behind Sangama, a not-for-profit based out of Bengaluru, Padmashali was invited by the Kerala government to receive the draft of the transgender policy in 2015, as the state became the first in the country to prepare the same.
Now married to her childhood love Vasu, the couple is also popular for becoming the first trans couple in India to legally adopt a child.
Meanwhile, former Janata Dal (Secular) MLC Ramesh Babu joined the Congress party on Saturday at a special event held at the party headquarters in Queens Road, Bengaluru.
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