Making History, 40-Year-Old Becomes Maharashtra's First Ever Transgender Voted Sarpanch

| October 18 , 2017 , 12:02 IST

Marking a giant step forward for the integration of transgenders in society, 40-year-old Dnyaneshwar Kamble, known locally as Mauli, on Tuesday made history as she was elected as Maharashtra's first ever transgender Sarpanch.

Expressing sadness over the attitude of the general public towards the transgender community, Kamble shared happiness over being elected as Sarpanch.

“We are always looked down upon as inferior human beings. People run away when we approach them… they try to avoid us in all possible ways,” said Kamble speaking to Indian Express.

“This is what I had been waiting for… I wish everyone from our community were treated that way,” Kamble continued, adding the transgender community needs recognition and honour.

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“We want to be in the mainstream public and not on the sidelines as shunned human beings. We are a community that has a number of well-educated people. But education has not given us respect in the society. We want respect and to be treated on par with other citizens… That I defeated a person who is a not a transgender shows people love me,” Kamble said.

Kamble was declared as the winner in the gram panchayat elections in the Tarangfal village of Solapur, which has a population of 1,800 with 1,600 voters and was one of the 4,000 panchayats that went to polls on Monday.

Contesting on a BJP ticket, Kamble secured 868 votes, defeating NCP rival Jaysingh Salve by a margin of 167. To win, Kamble had to secure votes from all three wards of the village and was successful. The victory of Kamble was celebrated with party workers throwing gulal in the air, bursting crackers and distributing sweets.

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A Class VII dropout, Kamble plans to encourage education in the village.

“I regret not having completed my education. I am going to spread the message among parents to educate their children up to graduation at least,” said Kamble.

With lok seva and gram seva on the agenda, Kamble also wants to stop open defecation.

"Villagers in the area continue to defecate in the open, my priority will include building toilets and stopping open defecation,” said Kamble.