Literate Raigarh elects transgender as its mayor

Development again wins as direct elections in Chhattisgarh’s town brings shift in India’s democratic tradition

GN BUREAU | January 5, 2015


Madhu Kinnar
Madhu Kinnar

A city with high literacy rate did something new. Raigarh town in Chhattisgarh has elected 35-year-old transgender, Madhu Naresh Kinnar as its mayor in a direct election.

With a population of over 2 lakh, the average literacy rate of Raigarh in 2011 was 73.26% and gender wise break up shows that male literacy was 83.49% and female literacy was a good 63.02%. Raigarh is the cultural capital of Chhattisgarh and also a industrial hub, situated about 200 km from state capital Raipur.

"I'm a kinnar (eunuch). People voted for me as they believe I will address development issues," said Madhu on Sunday. "It was the public support that encouraged me to enter the poll fray for the first time and because of their support only, I emerged as the winner," Madhu added.

Madhu earned a living by singing in Howrah-Mumbai trains gave up singing in trains in October last after the local eunuch community decided to contest the civic polls and nominated her for the mayorship. Madhu, who wears saris, spent between Rs 60,000 and Rs 70,000 on her campaign. The sum was raised by the eunuch community.

Madhu contested as independent candidate and bagged 33,168 votes to defeat the BJP's Mahavir Guru by 4,537 votes. She is the first eunuch mayor in Chhattisgarh. , winning the post in industrial hub Raigarh, 200km from here.

Transgender mayors

Kamla Jaan became mayor of Katni in united Madhya Pradesh - to which Chhattisgarh then belonged - as an Independent in December 1999. She was unseated despite good work after a two-and-a-half-year term marked by persistent insults from political opponents.

Asha Devi was elected from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh in 2000 and ousted in 2003.

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