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EC to provide pick-up and drop facilities to transgender voters

NEW DELHI

Pick-up and drop facilities from dedicated points to polling stations will be provided to transgender voters as part of the Chief Electoral Office’s efforts to encourage the community to participate in the electoral process.

A special drive was launched Thursday to enrol transgender voters in the Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency.

Tanvi Garg, the returning officer for the constituency, said the transgender community is very “closed” and it was difficult to make inroads.

“For the last few months, we were trying to reach out to the community. We made some inroads through Ghazala, a transgender voter, who is employed in my office. There are only 72 registered transgender voters in the Chandni Chowk constituency and NGOs have told us this is only one-third of the actual number of transgender voters in this constituency,” she said.

NGOs are helping the administration by carrying out door-to-door survey to find the transgender voters left out, she added.

An official said ‘third gender’ voters can enrol by furnishing a self-declaration along with a report of the block level officer.

“They do not have to furnish documents bearing their parents’ names. In some cases, these transgenders are under gurus, who are unwilling to give out their names. That would prove a hindrance in their enrolment. Also, many of the transgenders were earlier enrolled as either a woman or a man or have changed their names,” another official said.

Ghazala said people from her community should be encouraged to come out and vote. They need more support from the authorities, she said.

“As a tradition, the gurus do not give out their names and we used to face problems in getting our names enrolled in the lists. People from the third gender are doing well for themselves and must be encouraged to come out and vote,” Ghazala said.

Garg said transgender voters can visit the centres for enrolment or can apply online.

She said that in order to facilitate the third gender voters on May 12, pick-up and drop facilities from dedicated points to polling stations will also be provided to them.

Officials said the transgender community members fear they might be judged or taunted when they go ut for vote and, therefore, transportation will be provided to them so that they don’t face such issues.

Ranbir Singh, the Delhi Chief Electoral Officer, said there are 673 transgender voters enrolled in the national capital till now. There is a need to spread awareness among them for their voting rights, he said, adding block-level officers need to be made more aware.

(PTI)

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