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Vidhan Sabha election in 2022 has seen an increase of voter turnout of transgender

Shimla, 17th November, 2022. The number of voters in the third gender category has seen an increase in Vidhan Sabha Elections (VSE) 2022, as compared to 2017 Vidhan Sabha and 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This has possible due to the efforts of  State election department under the guidance of Election Commission of India (ECI) to attract more transgender community by including them in election awareness campaigns and to encourage them to exercise their right to franchise, stated Maneesh Garg, Chief Electoral Officer here today.

As compared to Vidhan Sabha election in 2017, the VSE-2022 has seen an increase of voter turnout of transgender. It was in the year 2017 when transgender were included as a separate category of third gender in electoral rolls. The total count of third gender in 2017 VSE was 14 out of which only 2 i.e. 14% exercised their right to franchise. Similarly in Lok Sabha elections 2019, only 34 % of the registered third gender voters cast their vote.

The CEO said that in 2022, the registration of transgender in electoral rolls was as poor as 17 as per the final publication on 15th January 2022. It was due to the initiatives of the Election Commission of India and the State Election department that the enrolment of transgender more than doubled to 37 as per the final publication of electoral rolls on 10th October 2022 and the count went up further by another addition taking tally of third gender voters to 38 as of now.

The Election Commission will take “stronger” initiatives for senior citizens, PwD voters and transgender persons to ensure that they are included in the electoral process with all due respect as deserved by them, said CEC Rajiv Kumar, on his recent visit to the State. CEO also stated that the Election Commission had felicitated the members of transgender community at model polling station at Dharampur during their visit to the State, which increased their visibility and encouraged them to come out and not only register themselves but also cast their votes in greater numbers. Efforts were made to make them understand that being recognized as the third gender, opens avenues for them to participate in the electoral democratic process without any social taboo or fear.

Further, interventions were made to motivate and bring in attitudinal change amongst third gender electors to come out and vote in a fearless manner like any other elector does, said CEO. As a result, 26 out of 38 third gender i.e., 68 % cast their vote in VSE 2022 in the State, which is exactly double than their participation in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Bijali Mahant, a transgender has also been made a ‘District icon’ of  Bilaspur district and all efforts were being made to appoint members of the transgender community as State and district election icons in the State, said Sh. Garg.

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