Forty differently-abled candidates will be contesting the rural local body polls in Tamil Nadu to be held on 6 October and 9 October. This includes a father, daughter duo also.
Kavitha. A. of Navammal Kapperi Village in Villupuram district wanted to contest the local polls in 2011, but her nomination was rejected. The reason was that she was having speech and hearing impairment and according to Subsection 3 of Section 33 in Tamil Nadu Panchayat Act 1994, people with speech and hearing impairment were not eligible to contest the rural local body polls.
The rejection of her nomination led to state-wide protests and people laid siege to the Tamil Nadu state election commission office following which an amendment was brought to the Act on November 15, 2012.
The amendment removed the clause “deaf, mute and persons affected with leprosy” from Subsection 3 of section 33 and published it in the government gazette.
Kavitha is now contesting the elections from ward 3 of Navammal Kapperi village and her father Thangarasu, who is also a differently-abled person, will be contesting from ward 4 in the Panchayat.
Thangarasu said, “It is a great moment. We are not certain of our win, but contesting in itself is half win as it has given us our genuine right to contest the polls”.
There are around 40 disabled people contesting the elections in the Tamil Nadu rural local body elections and most of them are from Villupuram, Chengalpattu, and Kancheepuram districts of the state.