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Narendra Modi: Will He Be The Next PM?

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By Tarun Surya:

Elections in India are always a very active period in the political calendar. The upcoming national elections are, thus, no different and have political analysts working overtime as to pool all the data together and present a clear enough picture as to the chances of the various permutations and combinations possible at the Centre. There was once a time when 272 was a magic number the Congress could pull off in an instant, a point of time when the BJP was just another stone on the road to Rajpath. But with the entrance of collation politics, that stone began to grow steadily to become the boulder the public sees today.

2014 happens to be the year when the Congress has finally got around to placing Rahul Gandhi in a substantial position of power, hyping him up to be the unofficial candidate for the PM post. But to get there, he must face the most potent weapon the BJP has rising through its ranks: Narendra Modi.narendra modi

Fresh from winning a third term in Gujarat, Modi looked to be following a path of unchallenged state dominance that had never been seen in the post-Jyothi Basu era. While it seems unlikely that the record set by one of Bengal’s most iconic CPM cadres will ever be remotely challenged, the support Modi commands from the population in Gujarat despite his alleged involvement in the Godhra riots throws up many similarities to Basu’s rule. While some have said the rise of Modi has been due to the apparent lack of an alternative leader in Gujarat politics, it does nothing to dent the fact that large progress has been seen in the erstwhile languishing state, something that Modi’s supporters never fail to bring up in a debate. His most recent victory, however, has given us a glimpse of his evolution as a politician, playing to the masses and skilfully diverting attention away from the subtlety of his communal campaigns. For the first time, Modi was elected into the assembly without having to play the communal card, going to the extent of trivialising the Muslim representation in the state by not even bothering to reach out for their support. “Vibrant Gujarat” indeed…

But this third term holds more significance to the BJP than just the satisfaction of maintaining its position in an otherwise Congress dominated India. Modi’s success in Gujarat has solidified his image as the BJP’s new-age campaigner. Tech-savvy, educated and shrewd, Modi represents a new brand of politicians raring to take over the reins of the BJP and revamp its image. With the ability to communicate to ‘young India’, as the Congress has stressed on many times, the BJP now has a fighting chance to actually come to power at the Centre after a long hiatus, courtesy the scam-racked UPA-II shamble at present. But within this race to occupy the Parliament, the BJP’s internal competitions are ready to ignite. Modi in particular is a strong forerunner for the post of PM. In his path to 10 Janpath, however, lie many large impediments; foremost among them being Sushma Swaraj, LK Advani and Modi’s own baggage. As a politician with a hard-core Moditva (Modi’s own brand of the BJP’s agenda of Hindutva) image, it is difficult to imagine him having a significantly large appeal amongst the largely secular Indian population. His indifference towards Muslims in the microcosm of Gujarat only seeks to illustrate how he might perform in the larger context of India. Bias towards Gujarat remains a major worry in the mind of the Indian voter, supplemented by the fact that Modi has had no verifiable success on the rare occasions that he has stepped out of his state to campaign for the BJP. Above all, his indictments in the Godhra riot cases have not yet been resolved, striking another blow to his reputation and image as a rising BJP star. Also, Modi does not enjoy much support from his fellow members with the BJP as well as the RSS, its parent body.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP’s most successful prime-ministerial candidate, remains an inspiration and a role model for all those within the BJP to aspire to. Analysis of Modi’s actions indicates that he aims to be the next such role model. But Modi lacks the acumen to compromise when the situation demands it and look at the bigger picture in terms of the good of the country over state, a quality that made Vajpayee indispensable to the BJP administration. Only time will tell if the country will really back Modi to be its flag bearer as the BJP seeks to live up to its own long coined slogan ‘India Shining’

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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