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From Dancing On Trains To Becoming India’s First Transgender Mayor: Meet Madhu Kinnar

Raigarh gives India its first transgender mayor, Madhu Kinnar. The victor is a happy occasion for the entire LGBT community. Here is all you need to know about Kinnar and the other “almost-mayor” transgenders of past.

Madhu Kinnar created history by becoming India’s first transgender mayor in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh Municipal Corporation on January 4.

35-year old Kinnar was an independent candidate who won the elections by securing 33168 votes and defeating her closest rival, Mahaveer Guruji from Bhartiya Janta Party, by 4,537 votes.

madhu kinnar3

 Source: Facebook

Kinnar, whose original name is Naresh Chauhan, belongs to a Dalit community and worked as a singer and dancer on trains to arrange for funds for her election campaign.

A school dropout after eighth standard, Kinnar gave credit of her victory to public’s support and blessings which encouraged her to stand in the polls.  After the glorious victory, Kinnar said people had shown faith in her and she will put in her best efforts to accomplish their dreams.

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Not deep-pocketed funds but love and support that marked this amazing victory for Kinnar

Madhu Kinnar (extreme right) with her supporters.
Madhu Kinnar (extreme right) with her supporters.
Source: NDTV video on Youtube

I gave blessings and asked for votes from people,” she said. On being asked if she would like to join any party, she says a clear no and wants to work as an independent leader only.

What makes this victory stand out is not a deep-pocketed, expensive campaign but people’s love and support that made her win. The complete campaign cost only around Rs.60,000-Rs.70,000 according to Kinnar, and it was completely funded by her own earnings. On the final result of the election, the leading opposition party, Congress, expressed that “it is BJP’s loss, not Madhu’s win”. On the other hand, BJP accepted the loss as the people’s decision.

Kinnar’s political victory is a happy occasion for the entire LGBT community in India, especially coming only nine months after the Supreme Court’s decision which recognized transgender as a legal third gender.

There have been transgenders elected to political posts in the past but they were removed by the court as the seats were reserved for women. Raigarh’s mayoral post is not reserved which gave Kinnar a chance to mark the amazing victory.

Transgenders got a legal status as "third gender" in 2014.
Transgenders got a legal status as “third gender” in 2014.
Source: Facebook/trans4legalrights
  • Madhya Pradesh took the first step in electing eunuchs by sending Shabnam Mausi to its State Legislative Assembly in 1998.
  • Later in 1999 Kamla Jaan too became mayor in Katni, MP but was unseated after two and half years due to constant opposition by political opponents.
  • Again in 2000, Asha Devi, a eunuch was elected from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh but was expelled after three years.

More to read:

Though the country still has a long way to go with regards to LGBT rights, it had marked its acceptance towards the third gender when a TV Channel appointed India’s first transgender TV anchor, Padmini Prakash. 

Kinnar’s victory is a silver lining giving hope that the third gender, which was always ignored and denied its rights, is finally getting a voice and a political status. We congratulate Kinnar on her recent victory and hope to see her doing some amazing work in Raigarh.

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