The transgender community in Tamil Nadu wants the Election Commission to change the Lok Sabha election dates in the state due to Koovagam Koothandavar, a three-day long festival of transgenders.
Bharathi Kannama, a transgender activist, said the transgender community will not be able to vote in the upcoming parliamentary election due to the Koovagam Koothandavar festival.
The representatives of the transgender community in Madurai pleaded to the District Collector S Natarajan in a letter, demanding the rescheduling of the Lok Sabha elections, which will be held on April 18 in a single phase.
"We cannot accept the dates for two reasons. First, a huge number of people come to Madurai to witness the Chithirai festival. So, pilgrims attending it will not be able to vote. Secondly, transgenders from across the country will attend a three-day long transgender festival in Viluppuram district from April 15-17. This will surely affect voter turnout," Bharathi Kannama said.
Nearly 6.5 lakh transgenders are likely to take part in the Koovagam Koothandavar festival. Bharathi Kannama fears their representation will be neglected.
"I appeal to the Election Commission to reconsider the other date," the activist added.
On March 12, an all-party delegation demanded the Lok Sabha election date in Tamil Nadu changed, as it clashes with Chithirai festival from April 8 to 22 in the state.
On March 14, Tamil Nadu Bishops' Council wrote a letter to the state Election Commission urging them to changes the polling date which will coincide with Maundy Thursday, stating that it would not be favourable for the people of the Christian community.
Earlier some leaders had also raised objections over the clash of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections with the holy month of Ramzan.
The Election Commission had announced the schedule for Lok Sabha elections. The dates for the seven phases are April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19. The votes will be counted on May 23.