BENGALURU: In a historic event of sorts, transgender activist Dr Akkai Padmashali joined the Karnataka unit of the Congress party on Sunday.
Akkai is the first from the sexual minority community to join the party's State unit and joins the likes of Apsara Reddy, General Secretary of Mahila morcha of the Congress as representatives of the LGBTQ community.
KPCC president DK Shivakumar welcomed Dr Padmashali to the party fold with an assurance of seeing her as a mainstream leader rather than just a representative for sexual minorities.
"Dr Akkai Padmashali is an asset not just to Karnataka Congress but a national asset. She will be a mainstream leader for the party. Only those who work closely with people can be called leaders according to me, not those who have a position and a following," DK Shivakumar said while welcoming Dr Padmashali to the party.
Speaking to the media about her decision to join the Congress Dr Akkai Padmashali said the choice was a result of Indira Gandhi's decisions during her times for the community. "This day and time is historic. I am not joining that Congress party just as a sexual minority or someone ostracised by the society multiple times for multiple reasons. Right from Indira Gandhi's times, Congress has worked for the welfare of the transgender community. It was natural for me to choose the Congress. It was Indira Gandhi who made train travel free for us, ensured free food and also initiated setting up of living facilities for us," she said.