Panel has now added Third Gender 

Mumbai : CEO of State Election Commission Nitin Gadre on Wednesday informed the media that every effort would be made to enroll more voters and appealed to the people of the State to vote in large numbers so that there will be an increase in the percentage of polling in the coming Lok Sabha elections. In 2009, the State had registered 50 per cent of polling and this time around efforts would be made to enroll more voters. In a beginning to these efforts, the State Election Commission since 2009 had added a category called Third Gender and taken the help of non-governmental organisations to enroll more such voters. “We created the category of Third Gender to encourage them to come forward and enroll. The efforts are showing; last time we had only 35 voters in that list, this time we have 270. We took a lot of help from the NGO called Humsafar,” added Gadre.

Social activists have hailed the step, saying it should just be the beginning and more rights should be given to such people. “In fact, they say the Third Gender includes not only gays, but also trans- gender and genders beyond binary people. Gays are still considered men and women. It is a welcome move, we need more efforts like these. They are usually forced to identify only as men and women, and shades of gender are multi-coloured. Putting an end to ostracism, they should be given the same kind of rights and hopefully this is just the beginning,” said Harish Iyer, Equal Rights’ activist.

According to the SEC, enrolling of voters is an ongoing process and till the voting day, the people can carry their supplementary slips. The Commission has also appealed to people, who have not been registered, to visit its nearest polling booth on March 9. “We have undertaken a special campaign on March 9 to encourage people to enroll. They need to visit the nearest polling booth and can get themselves registered as voters,” said Gadre.

Neeta Kolhatkar

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