CHENNAI: The lone transgender candidate contesting the Lok Sabha elections in the State, M Radha’s dreams are really big. She wants to ensure that nobody in Chennai South, the constituency from where she is contesting as an independent, spends nights under the open sky on the roadside. She wants to provide better living conditions and earning opportunities to the downtrodden, but above all, she wants to boost the morale of transgenders.
“I am not contesting elections because I want to enjoy power. My sole intention is to make lives of poor people better and I can fulfill my goal easily if I get elected,” said Radha.“Nowadays, there is lot of awareness about the plight of transgenders and many from our community have joined government services and made a mark in other professions also. But in politics, we do not have apt representation. I want to change the scenario and also aim to encourage my community members to come forward and fight elections,” said 53-year-old Radha, who is contesting polls for the first time.
A cook by profession, she gets a meagre Rs 7000 per month but that has not deterred her from contesting the Lok Sabha polls. She had to pay Rs 12,500 for filing nomination papers which she collected from her friends and even to meet the campaigning expenses, she is dependent on crowd funding.
Speaking fluently in English, Radha, a resident of Mylapore, says she will work for development of all sections of people, not only for transgenders if she comes to power. Though in her nomination papers her education qualification shows Standard XII, Radha claims she studied post graduation in English literature. “I have original certificates only of class X and class XII as my remaining certificates were damaged in 2015 floods. So I have mentioned class XII as my highest qualification in my nomination papers,” she said.
At least 40 candidates are there in poll fray in Chennai South constituency, but she is unperturbed by competition. “Despite limited resources and funds, I am leaving no stone unturned to reach out to my voters. I start my day at 7 am after completing my household chores and start my door-to-door campaigning. From vegetable seller to residents of high rise posh apartments, I am meeting voters and convincing them to vote for me,” she said.
Post graduate in English literature
Though in nomination papers her education qualification is shown as class XII, Radha claims she is a post graduate in English literature. “I have certificates only of class X and class XII as my other certificates were damaged in 2015 floods,” she said