Madhya Pradesh 2018

Kinnars taking the lead in M.P. polls

Shabnam Mausi.

Shabnam Mausi.

As the countdown begins for the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh next month, Kinnars (eunuchs) have urged their community members to take the lead and contest in the polls.

Madhya Pradesh is the first State to have sent a eunuch to the Assembly when Shabnam Mausi won from the Suhagpur seat in 1998.

“If anyone from our community wants to contest in the elections, Kinnar Akhara is ready to extend its support to them,” Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Mahamandleshwar of Kinnar Akhara, said while addressing a press conference in Indore.

The Kinnar Akhara, considered to be the highest body of Kinnars, has started motivating its community members to contest the November 28 Assembly elections in M.P., where eunuchs have won elections.

Surprisingly, during the last three Assembly elections in Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, the Akhara maintained a low profile.

Scripted history

Almost 20 years ago, Shabnam Mausi scripted history by becoming the first transgender MLA of the country. In the 1998 Assembly elections, Mausi won from the Suhagpur seat in Anuppur district.

As an Independent MLA, Mausi made her presence felt in the 320-member State Assembly. Her electoral success paved the way for other eunuchs like Kamala Jaan, who became the Mayor of Katni town near Jabalpur.

In all likelihood, Mausi is set to make a comeback in the single phase elections. “Mausi is planning to contest from Kotma, an unreserved seat in tribal-dominated Anuppur,” a close aide of Mausi told The Hindu over telephone.

Recently, Mausi had visited the State Congress headquarters in Bhopal to become a member, but could not.

In December 2009, Kamla Bua was elected to the Mayoral post of the Sagar Municipal Corporation by defeating Suman Ahirwar of the BJP.

But both Kamla Jaan and Kamla Bua were unseated on technical grounds. Kamla, like most other eunuchs in India, was referred to as ‘she’ but was ruled that ‘she’ was in fact a man and unseated by the courts.

Two years ago, eunuchs made their presence felt ahead of the largest Hindu Mela, better known as Simhastha Kumbh Mela-2016, in the ancient temple town in Ujjain district. Ahead of the Mela, representatives of different eunuch groups based in 22 States came together and formed an Akhara and named it Kinnar Akhara. The Akhara was formed to take the privilege of taking a dip like the saints and yogis in Shahi Snan (royal holy bath).

Increasing numbers

In the last five years, the number of transgender voters in M.P. has increased by over 300.

In the last Assembly polls, 970 voters of the third gender were registered. The number has shot up to 1,286 in the recently published electoral rolls.

“A total of 1,410 people have registered under the ‘third gender’ category,” State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) V.L. Kantha Rao had said sometime ago.

Taking a dig at Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Laxmi alleged that Mr. Chouhan has failed to fulfil his promise to the transgender community. “In 2016, Mr. Chouhan had promised to form a Mahamandal for the transgenders, but he failed to keep his promise.”


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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 6:16:00 am | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/madhya-pradesh-assembly-elections-2018/kinnars-taking-the-lead-in-mp-polls/article25281092.ece