[AI] Is it time for persons with disability to enter politics?

Kanchan Pamnani kanchanpamnani at gmail.com
Wed Jun 30 12:06:00 EDT 2010

Jaipal Reddy uses crutches however he does not speak for the disabled. He to 
the best of my knowledge does not even acknowledge that he is disabled and 
therefore does not ask for his rights and thereby does not become a good or 
even a spokesman  for us. I am told there are several other politicians who 
are disabled but I dont know their names. The secretariat of Parliament 
recently told us so.

The gentleman that Geeta mentioned was Sadhan Gupta who got elected to the 
Rajya Sabha from West Bengal.
According to Arun Jetley there was another blind MP of the Lok Sabha I didnt 
catch his name.
Atul Bihari Vajpayee  had to use the ambu lift which Javed Abidi had fought 
for against Vajpayee's government.

Subramani these titbits are for your article but I am not answering your 
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Subramani L" <lsubramani at deccanherald.co.in>
To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 8:23 PM
Subject: [AI] Is it time for persons with disability to enter politics?

> Folks:
> This is in reference to the story below. This raises  the curious but
> difficult question: should persons with disability enter politics in
> order to influence policy (both the ones that affect them and those that
> doesn't). I am doing an analytical article on this question and would
> welcome responses from those in this list and from those with other
> disabilities outside this list. Kindly pass this around and encourage
> folks to respond. I have a few questions which I am putting below the
> story and so pl read the mail fully.
> ***
>    Britain's first MP with Cerebral Palsy encourages persons with
> disability to enter politics
> June 28: The first elected representative to the British Parliament with
> Cerebral Palsy, possibly the first in the world with that disability,
> has urged more persons with disability to enter politics.
> Paul Maynard, elected to the House of Commons last month as a
> Conservative Party candidate, has said that his presence in the House
> should provide encouragement for other persons with disability to
> contest elections and enter Parliament.
> "I just hope that simply my being here, in the House of Commons, people
> who may be nervous about getting into politics are not put off by any
> fear of what might happen during the (election) campaign," Maynard, MP
> from Blackpool North and Cleveleys, told Britain's The Independent
> newspaper in an interview published on Monday.
> He  also said that he had faced ignorance about his condition from a
> young age, but had been determined to rise above the taunts. "There will
> always be people who will use it (the disability) against you and you
> will have to learn to deal with that," Maynard, 34, told the newspaper.
> Maynard studied in a special school until he was five years old. He was
> then transferred to mainstream school and went on to obtain a
> first-class degree from Oxford. He mentioned in his interview that his
> life was transformed by the early experience he had in the special
> school.
> "Because my problem was with the thighs, and their muscle development,
> they would strap you into tight iron callipers for several hours a day.
> You had nothing to do. So I was doing all my numbering and all my
> reading    far earlier than most children and very quickly learnt to
> read and write, which was an unexpected bonus later on," he said.
> Maynard, who worked as a management consultant before   getting a job at
> the central office of the Conservative Party, had decided to enter
> politics just weeks before the elections this year.
> He faced derogatory comments in his constituency after a television
> interview, in which his slurred speech (due to his disability) was
> mistaken for drunkenness. He explained about his disability and insisted
> that it didn't affect his intellectual abilities.
> He eventually achieved a 7 per cent swing and won by a majority of 2150
> votes in his constituency, which was one of the seats the Conservatives
> rested back from Labour.
> He had already delivered his maiden speech in the Parliament and has
> made interventions at the Prime Minister's Question Time, considered an
> important business t the British Parliament.
> Britain had David Blunket as the first person with disability as a
> cabinet minister under Labour, when Tony Blair appointed the visually
> challenged MP from Sheffield as Home Secretary.
> *** *** ***
> (PL mention your full name, designation/office, age , name of the
> organisation you represent and the city you hail from)
> 1. Do you think having a politician with disability would make a
> difference in terms of passing legislations and implementing them?
> 2. This is more a personal question -Given a chance, would you enter
> politics? Pl substantiate your answer as to why you would and why you
> wouldn't make that choice?
> 3. What do you think r the advantages and disadvantages of being a
> politician with disability? Are these (advantages and disadvantages) the
> reason that influence your choice to enter or not to enter politics?
> 4. Are 'politicians with disability' the need of the hour? Do you have
> personal choices amongst the present crop of activists who would make
> good politicians (ignore it if you are not comfortable answering this
> part of the question).
> 5. What are the challenges do you think for activists to become
> politicians?
> 6. Do you think politicians with disability, such as Paul Maynard spread
> awareness and positive impressions about persons with disability?
> 7. Do you think it would be difficult in circumstances in India for a
> person with disability to become a politician? If you say yes, why?
> 8.  What are the risks of being a politician? Are you worried about
> compromises you may have to make by being a politician? Or do you think
> being an educated person is actually an obstacle to be a good and honest
> political leader?
> Voice your thoughts in the blog to discuss the Rights of persons with 
> disability bill at:
> http://www.accessindia.org.in/harish/blog.htm
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