While only semi-literate, she ran in 2000 for the post of mayor in Gorakhpur, eastern Uttar Pradesh, a post reserved for a woman. Other candidates objected that she was not a woman, but the pradesh Election Commission ruled that her sex was to be decided by how she was enroled in the voters’ list, and on the precedent of Shabnam Mausi, the Madya Pradesh MLA.
Shabnam campaigned on her behalf. In November 2000 she won over one lakh (1,09,849) votes. Every other candidate including the one from Bharatiya Janata Party lost her deposit.
During her tenure she concentrated on the construction of roads and drainage.
In May 2003 her election was declared invalid on the grounds that the post was reserved for a female, and that Asha is not female. This was in response to a petition by from the Samajwadi Party candidate, who had had come second but received over 60,000 fewer votes.
Asha died aged 61 from a kidney disorder.
*Not the film actress, nor the mother of Delhi rape victim, Jyoti Singh.
- Amit Sharma. “Glamour aplenty in Lucknow civic polls as Shabnam Mausi joins campaign”. Indian Express. Nov 16, 2000. www.indianexpress.com/ie/daily/20001117/ina17050.html.
- “U.P. parties peeved at choice of eunuch Mayor”. The Hindu. Dec 12, 2000. www.hindu.com/2000/12/12/stories/1412225d.htm.
- "To beat the drum is better than being a mayor: Asha Devi". Hindustan Times, 29 Jan 2014. www.hindustantimes.com/news-feed/nm17/to-beat-the-drum-is-better-than-being-a-mayor-asha-devi/article1-159789.aspx.
- "Former eunuch Mayor of Gorakhpur dies". ZeeNews, June 04, 2013. http://zeenews.india.com/news/uttar-pradesh/former-eunuch-mayor-of-gorakhpur-dies_852771.html.