Trans candidate Bobi Kinnar (nicknamed Bobi “Darling”) has won a major electoral victory in India, becoming the first transgender councilor for a major Delhi municipality. Not only is her election a win for LGBTQ+ representation in government, it signals a rejection of the dominant right wing agenda.
The election was for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), the largest of three municipalities governing Delhi. Representing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Bobi defeated challenger Varuna Dhaka for the Sultanpur-A ward by a margin of 6,714 votes, according to the Indian Express.
Her win is one of several victories that put the AAP at 134 seats for the MCD, beating out the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s 104 seats. The AAP was formed during the 2011 protests against corruption in the government. Its popularity has been on the rise since then, having recently gained national party status. In the country at large, it is still vastly overshadowed by the BJP, which advocates for traditional Hindu nationalism, led by India’s prime minister Narendra Modi.
But Bobi’s victory is part of an effort to change that. According to the Hindustan Times, Bobi “Darling” was originally a wedding dancer who turned to social work and later politics in order to address anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination. In this capacity, she has served as president for the Delhi chapter of the Hindu Yuva Samaj Ekta Awam Anti-Terrorism Committee, having been associated with that organization for over 15 years. In 2017, she ran for MCD office for the first time as an independent before joining up with the AAP.
On the campaign trail, she has said that she wants to “beautify” the MCD. “If I become a councilor, I will work to end corruption,” she said, per India Today. “I will not allow officials to take bribes and will get public works done for free.”
In addition, she spoke on the importance of LGBTQ+ representation in government. “I want the people of my society to come forward in politics, like before,” she said. “Now the people of our society are moving away from politics. There are many educated people in our society. I want all such people to come into politics and do social service so that our name also increases in society.”
Upon the announcement of her victory, Bobi credited her supporters for making the election possible. “I want to dedicate my victory to the people who worked so hard for me,” she said. “I would like to thank everyone. Now I just have to work for development in my area.”