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Train eunuch turns mayor

Madhu Kinnar receives the election certificate from district collector Mukesh Bansal

Raipur, Jan. 4: A transgender who earned a living by singing in Howrah-Mumbai trains today became the first eunuch mayor in Chhattisgarh, winning the post in industrial hub Raigarh, 200km from here.

Madhu Naresh Kinnar, a 35-year-old Independent candidate, bagged 33,168 votes to defeat the BJP's Mahavir Guru by 4,537 votes. Unlike Calcutta, Raigarh holds a citywide direct election for mayor alongside the conventional ward-wise polls for councillors.

"I'm a kinnar (eunuch). People voted for me as they believe I will address development issues," said Madhu, who gave up singing in trains in October after the local eunuch community decided to contest the November civic polls and chose her to represent it.

Madhu, who wears saris, said she had spent between Rs 60,000 and Rs 70,000 on her campaign, the entire sum having been raised by the eunuch community.

She can expect to be luckier than India's first two eunuch mayors, both of whom were unseated by courts for contesting posts reserved for women. Raigarh's mayoral post is not reserved.

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

Asha Devi was elected from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh in 2000 and ousted in 2003. She passed away in 2013.

Madhya Pradesh has been a pioneer in electing eunuchs, having sent Shabnam Mausi to its Assembly in 1998.

Overall, the Chhattisgarh results have jolted the ruling BJP, reducing its tally from six to four of the state's 10 municipalities. It won just 37 of the 105 nagar panchayats, the Congress securing 50.

In Raigarh, the BJP and the Congress tied with 16 seats each while seven went to Independents. The Congress wrested the Raipur mayor's post from the BJP.

Having declared that the civic polls would witness a Congress wipe-out, a defensive chief minister Raman Singh said: "The results were not expected; the party will examine the reasons."


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