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A Eunuch in India Campaigns as a Political ‘None of the Above’

in INDIA, 08/12/2013

A rinky-dink political parade was winding through the back streets of northwest Delhi on Sunday afternoon, past narrow alleyways and a clutch of pigs, ferrying along a candidate in heavy makeup and a blue sari.

One could have looked right past her were it not for a certain bulge to her forehead, a squareness to her jaw or the fact that her campaign slogans, chanted by a group of similarly thickset women, included “Long live Lili the Eunuch,” and “Put your stamp on Lili the Eunuch” and “You’ve tried men, you’ve tried women, now it’s Lili’s turn!”

It’s been a “none-of-the-above” political season in Delhi, whose voters will go to the polls to choose a new state legislative assembly on Wednesday. Rising prices have soured the mood toward the Indian National Congress, even in poor, low-caste neighborhoods like this one, where voters have supported the party almost by reflex — and yet the main opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is also unloved in many quarters.

For this reason, this fall’s election has opened the door to unorthodox new players, most important, the upstart Aam Aadmi, or Common Man Party, whose attempt to unseat the heavyweights has provided this week’s main suspense.

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