Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Monday became the first political party in the country to start an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) cell. Maharashtra NCP chief Jayant Patil and Member of Parliament Supriya Sule made the announcement.
The formation of the LGBT cell was one of the promises made by the party in their election manifesto. It has been set up to integrate the community into mainstream society. "The LGBT community faces a number of problems including education and health. As promised in our election manifesto, we will continue our efforts to bring them into the mainstream. This is the first step in fulfilling our promise," said Jayant Patil.
"Priority will be given to resolving the issues of the LGBT community through this cell. It has been formed for the social, educational, financial empowerment of the LGBT group, we will make this program a success," he added.
Meanwhile, MP Supriya Sule said that NCP was the first party to set up a cell for women and today, it has become the first party to set up for the LGBT community. "We believe in action, so we've established this cell," she said. "The purpose of this cell is to solve the problems of the gay community," she added.
It has to be noted that Supriya Sule had batted for the LGBT community in the Lok Sabha. During a debate about the Human Rights Bill, the Baramati MP insisted that it should be made gender-neutral. "This whole bill has to be gender-neutral. We passed the Section 377 bill here. Then why is the LGBTQ community not being included in this? Human rights aren’t just about terrorists or police," she had said.
This was after 2018's historical judgement which decriminalised homosexuality. For the unversed, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had unanimously decriminalised homosexual activity between consenting adults. Gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people have the right to constitutional equality in “all its manifestations”, and majoritarian views and popular morality cannot dictate constitutional rights, the Bench had said.