Well know transgender activist Akkai Padmashali joined the Indian National Congress in Karnataka on Sunday. Akkai is the recipient of Karnataka Rajyotsava award – the second highest civilian award of the state- in 2015, and is the founder of Onedede, an oranisation working for the rights os sexual minorities and vulnerable groups.
Akkai was inducted into the Congress Party in presence of the K Shivakumar, President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC). Other senior leaders like Mrs. Lakshmi Hebbalkar (MLA), Women Congress President Dr. Pushpa Amarnath, Sowmya Reddy (MLA), Ex Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjuna too were present at the event.
“The Indian National Congress is known for being quite outspoken on issues faced by minorities including the transgender community. My decision to join the party coincides with the observation that there is no political voice from within the party now to represent such issues from a first-hand perspective,” she told The Indian Express.
“I believe the Congress is a party where there is a platform to bring to fore issues that women and sexual and gender minorities face,” she told The NewsMinute in an interview.
She also spoke to The Indian Express about the threat to the Indian Constitution from the right wing. “This is part of my ideological efforts as well to ensure protection to the Indian Constitution and people’s rights which are highly at stake now. The right to dissent is now being limited, especially after (journalist-activist) Gauri Lankesh’s assassination in 2017 and vested interests and trying to shut down the society by various means.”