Transgender activist Bharathi Kannamma, who filed her nomination papers on Saturday to contest as an independent candidate from the Madurai Lok Sabha constituency, kick-started the campaign from South Gate here on Monday.

Seeking the blessings of an elderly transgender in the locality, Ms. Bharathi Kannamma went on a door-to-door campaign seeking votes and to make the residents and shopkeepers come to know about her contesting the Parliamentary elections.

Speaking to reporters, Ms. Kannamma said, “If I was elected to power, I would try to turn Madurai into an industrial city on the lines of Coimbatore and Tirupur. It would help generate employment opportunities for thousands of youths in the constituency.”

The candidate also promised to take necessary steps to secure international status for Madurai airport and fight for the rights of the transgender community in Madurai. Though there have been occasions when transgenders attempted to contest Assembly and local body polls in the country, this could be the first time a transgender is contesting Parliamentary elections.

“As transgenders we do not have any family commitment which would enable us to devote our time for the public and address their issues,” said Brinda, a transgender, who accompanied Ms. Kannamma during the campaign.

Ms. Kannamma has been involved in social work and the upliftment of transgenders in the region for some years. “I think rather than voting the corrupt to power, we must offer a chance to such people to serve the people of the constituency,” said 40-year-old S. Krishnasami, a coconut vendor in South Gate.

“My advisory committee is currently working on the poll manifesto. It will be released once the Election Commission allots a symbol for me,” said Ms. Kannamma.

It may be recalled that Ms. Kannamma’s nomination for the candidature of the Mayor’s post was rejected owing to confusion over the gender identity during 2011 local body elections.

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