In a historic event of sorts, transgender activist Dr Akkai Padmashali joined the Karnataka unit of the Congress party on Sunday. Akkai is the first from the sexual minority community to join the party’s State unit and joins the likes of Apsara Reddy, General Secretary of Mahila morcha of the Congress as representatives of the LGBTQ community. KPCC president DK Shivakumar welcomed Dr Padmashali to the party fold with an assurance of seeing her as a mainstream leader rather than just a representative for sexual minorities. “Dr Akkai Padmashali is an asset not just to Karnataka Congress but a national asset. She will be a mainstream leader for the party. Only those who work closely with people can be called leaders according to me, not those who have a position and a following,” DK Shivakumar said while welcoming Dr Padmashali to the party.