Earlier last week, AAP party released its national manifesto setting off a controversy over the non inclusion of LGBT reforms that were promised earlier.
The document released ahead of the Lok sabha elections of 2014 was received with mixed expressions of disappointment by LGBT rights activists who were looking towards the new party with hopes of championing their cause.
However, in a quick attempt to save the situation Mumbai manifesto was released by AAP today and included the much discussed LGBT reforms and a call to repeal the Section 377 that criminalises consensual sexual relations among homoosexuals.
AAP Maharashtra state secretarty Preeti Sharma Menon, explained, “LGBT reforms were always meant to be part of the city manifesto and not the national document.”
“The draft for the Mumbai manifesto, in fact, was released as far back as a month and a half ago. And we confirmed the same with activists in the meeting conducted last week,” she elaborates.
The news was received with much jubilation by LGBT activists who were pinning their hopes on the party to do the right thing. Celebrated equal rights activist Harrish Iyer, who recently quit his job to join the party said, “It is a welcome move by AAP to include LGBT rights in their Mumbai manifesto. Not many political parties will engage with the LGBT community and then address the issue in earnest.”
“Not only is AAP proactive in listening to the LGBT community, people like Preeti go to the police station and fight cases on behalf of LGBT people. AAP has shown through their actions that they really believe in equal rights,” he added.
He also tweeted the part of manifesto that includes the LGBT rights:
— harish iyer (@hiyer) April 10, 2014
But why a city-centric manifestos?
“Let's not look at these documents as manifestos,” says Menon. “They are essentially the stance of AAP leaders towards issues that plague this city the most. Being a new party we felt the need for the candidates to express their beliefs and ideas on key issues of a city such as Mumbai.”
She further reiterated, “AAP believes that a national manifesto is not adequate to address important local concerns. The party hopes to establish Swaraj—de-centralisation of power—in the city of Mumbai.”