A Political Party Contesting Just Ten Lok Sabha Seats In Maharashtra Has LGBTQIA Interests In Its Manifesto.


The Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar) released its 32-paged Lok Sabha Election Manifesto on 25th April 2024. The party highlighted welfare measures for the LGBTQIA community. The amazing thing is that it is contesting on just ten out of 48 seats in alliance with Indian National Congress and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) in Maharashtra. Yet it has kept the LGBTQIA community’s interests in mind. Contrast it with the Manifesto of BJP which has hundreds of MPs but has ignored the gays, lesbians, bi-sexual and asexual.

The Manifesto States

  • Legal recognition: Ensure legal rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals, including marriage, adoption and healthcare access.
  • Inclusive Education: Provide educator training on LGBTQIA+ issues and foster safe and supportive educational environments for LGBTQIA+ students.
  • Healthcare Access Guarantee inclusive healthcare services, including gender-affirming care, mental health support and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
  • Hate Crime Legislation: enact laws targeting hate crimes against LGBTQIA+ individuals and train law enforcement agencies to effectively handle such crimes.
  • Community support Services: invest in youth centers, counseling and support groups to tackle community-specific challenges and enhance well-being.
  • Workplace Inclusivity: Implement policies to eliminate discrimination, harassment and bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Public awareness campaigns: conduct sensitization initiatives to dismantle stereotypes, diminish stigma and cultivate understanding and acceptance of LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Supriya Sule of the NCP (SP) is a long-time friend, philosopher and ally of the LGBTQIA+ community. The NCP had formed LGBT Cell in October 2020. She had introduced a Private Member’s Bill in parliament on 1st April 2022. The Bill proposed:

  • Same-sex marriage and asked for similar rights to same-sex couples as are available to heterosexual couples
  • Fixing marriageable age at 21 years if both partners are male, and 18 years for female partners.
  • Replacing the words “husband” and “wife” with “spouse” by amending the various sections of the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The Bill could not become an Act, but Supriya’s effort was the need of the hour.

P.S. Sahni is a member of PIL Watch Group

Blog: http://pilwatchgroup.blogspot.com/

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