Trasgender Nazrul Islam Ritu, an independent candidate, has been elected union parishad (UP) chairman at Trilochonpur union of Jhenaidah's Kaliganj upazila in the third phase of UP elections.
Ritu, 43, bagged 9,557 votes with the pineapple symbol while ruling Awami League-backed candidate Nazrul Islam Sana got 4,529 votes on Sunday, said Md Abdus Salek, district election officer.
Locals said Ritu has been providing financial assistance to the helpless people of different villages of Trilochanpur Union for 15 years and thus she became popular among local people.
Ritu had to leave her village and move to Dhaka's Demra at the age of five. She spent most of her life with her community leaving her family behind as society did not accept her at that time.
She could not continue her study after the primary level due to various social barriers. As a teenager, she had to move to Dhaka and was reared up by her community leader.
Even though she lived in Dhaka, she would visit Jhenaidah frequently to stay connected with the Trilochanpur people. Ritu said she wants to serve the people of the union for the rest of her life.
She added that a lot of work has not been done in the area yet, and she would try to do these things in collaboration with the government.
She thanked the government for giving her the right to vote and various other opportunities to the transgender community members. "I have no regret for being a transgender person."
"The Awami League-backed candidate and his supporters obstructed me in many ways. However, there has been a fair election because of the administration," she added.
A local, Yusuf Ali, said, "People usually cast their votes considering the party, but if a party does not nominate the deserving candidate, he/she cannot win an election. Ritu is much better than the one who contested with the boat symbol. Ritu helps us, so we voted for her."
People in the union said they hope that Ritu will fulfil her promise, and the government's allocation will be properly distributed among deserving people.
Nazrul Islam, the defeated candidate, said, "Ritu spent Tk1 crore. Still, I applaud people's decision."
Kaliganj upazila Election Officer Alamgir Hossain said that the voting of all the unions including that union has been completed fairly.
Earlier, another transgender, Pinki Khatun, was elected vice-chairman of Kotchandpur upazila in Jhenaidah.
On 13 November, Shahida Begum became the first transgender person to get elected as a councillor of Maguraghona in the Khulna district.
A guideline was approved in 2013 by the cabinet committee for granting Hijra or transgenders' state recognition. Following that, in January 2014, the government issued a gazette granting state recognition to the transgender community.
In 2019, the Election Commission decided to enlist the third gender as a gender identity in the voter list along with male and female.