By Mohit Dubey, Lucknow, March 30 IANS | 8 months ago

If you thought Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal was the last big challenge to BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Varanasi, read on!

The latest to have hitched the VIP bandwagon is a mafia don-turned-politician and a transgender. The gangster, currently lodged in a high-security prison, announced his candidature while in a court for appearance in a murder case.

Mukhtar Ansari claims a near-certain victory over Modi, pegging his hopes on the 250,000 Muslim voters in Varanasi. He had given a tough time to top BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi in the 2009 election and had lost only by a narrow margin of about 20,000 votes.
He will be representing the Quami Ekta Dal (QED) this time and is a sitting legislator from Mau district, a seat he has represented four times.

Eunuchs too have decided to jump into the fray and it has been decided that Kamla, a eunuch, would take on Modi in the big battle in the temple town.

A resolution to this effect was passed at a eunuch convention in Gorakhpur this week and eunuchs from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand have been asked to travel to Varanasi the coming week and begin door-to-door campaign for their candidate.

Sonam Singh Yadav, national spokesperson of the eunuchs, said while a candidate will be fielded in Varanasi against the Gujarat chief minister, the community elsewhere would pitch in to "make Mulayam Singh Yadav the next prime minister".

We are supporters of 'Netaji', as Mulayam is called by party workers, and believe that he would do well as India's PM, she told IANS.

The eunuchs at their recent congregation at Gorakhpur decided to make teams that would spread across the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state and campaign for the Samajwadi Party (SP) candidates.

"Whatever be our worth, we want to use our energies to ensure that Mulayam Singh becomes PM," said Sonam Yadav.

On whether the decision to contest against Modi was merely to catch eyeballs, Sonam answered in the negative and said that their candidate Kamla had in the past contested the assembly polls from the city twice and had garnered 20,000-odd votes.

"We might not be in a position to defeat Modi ji but we can certainly put up a fight and eat into his votes," chuckles Sunita, another transgender.

The BJP says Modi's victory from Varanasi "was a foregone conclusion and that the scale would be one of the highest in the state".

But the party is trying to cajole the eunuchs into backing out.

Gorakhpur mayor Satya Pandey Thursday visited the convention and tried her bit to convince the eunuchs on pulling out of the fray. The transgenders, however, are holding ground and have decided to go ahead with their decision to take on Modi, the spokesman further added.

In the 2012 state assembly elections, a little-known Rashtriya Viklang Party (RVP) had fielded 25 eunuchs in various segments.

Of the prominent transgenders who contested the state elections were national president of Kinnar Morcha, Shobha Bua who contested the Dhaulana assembly seat in Ghaziabad and Shabnam Mausi, who won the election from Suhagpur in Madhya Pradesh in 2000.

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at mohit.d@ians.in)

(Posted on 30-03-2014)

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