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The Time Is Here For Delhi Voters To Teach Political Parties A Lesson

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By Dr. Amrit Patel:

To ensure effectiveness of our democracy to achieve the objectives and goals enshrined in our constitution, each eligible voter must vote invariably and elect only the deserving candidate. Over a period of time election commissions of India have made a plethora of recommendations and of late the Supreme Court has come with heavy hand to prevent entry of candidates with criminal records, among others. Unfortunately none of the political parties has shown concern and commitment in this regard. As for example, the National Election Watch and Association of Democratic Reforms have been doing their best to bring to the attention of the voters by analysing the profile of contesting candidates in respect of their self-filed affidavits on crimes committed, assets acquired, among others. Their following analysis of 796 candidates for the slated Delhi Assembly election on 4th December, 2013 is shocking for voters.


– Out of the 796 candidates contesting election in Delhi Assembly election as many as 129 candidates have declared criminal cases against them in this year’s election as against 111 in 2008 Delhi Assembly election.
– Out of the 129 candidates who have declared criminal cases, 93 have declared serious criminal cases which include attempt to murder, robbery, dacoity and crime against women.
– Fourteen constituencies have at least three candidates from political parties with declared criminal cases.*Red Alert Constituencies are those which have three or more candidates with criminal cases standing up for elections. This analysis excludes independent candidates with criminal cases.
– Out of the 796 candidates 265 are crorepatis as against 180 in 2008…
– Out of 796 candidates 117 have not declared their PAN details.

Not only legislators with criminal records enter into State Legislative Assemblies and parliament but often become Ministers in the Government and continue unethical as also criminal activities. Even judicial system is unable to convict them for obvious reasons. Only voters can prevent the entry of criminals in the State Legislative Assemblies and parliament for which all eligible voters must vote en masse [100%] and reject such candidates making them to forfeit/lose deposits. It is indeed a matter of appreciation that more than 70% voters in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Mizoram have exercised their rights to vote which has been quite commendable. As Delhi being the country’s capital where both our houses of the parliament, the Government and the highest court of the land have been functioning to safe guard our hard earned political freedom, to economically emancipate country’s poor and uphold the rule of law as enshrined in our constitution, it is now for all eligible voters of Delhi Assembly to demonstrate their concern and vote en masse [100%] on this day. A time is now opportune to reject all 129 candidates with record of crimes, 265 crorepatis and 117 having not declared their PAN ensuring that they forfeit/lose their deposits. Only this can teach a better lesson to political parties not to field any candidate of these disqualifications in the ensuing Parliamentary election in 2014. It is surprising that despite so much hue and cry throughout the country about criminalization, amassing wealth and assets, not complying with mandated requirements of having PAN, among others, these political parties have shamelessly fielded such candidates. They must, therefore, be rejected by voters unanimously on 4th December. Only voters can punish such political parties by exercising their rights to vote and reject the candidates as also the political party outright.

Even now they have become so thick skinned that they do not want to make any appropriate amendments in the existing laws, enforce existing laws, unnecessarily wasting precious resources of the parliament without properly debating the issues, keeping several bills pending for years together. Poverty, hunger and lack of health care facilities have adversely reflected on human development. Every now and then rising prices of fuel and energy have been fuelling food inflation in particular much beyond human endurance. Youth in metro, urban and rural areas have been deprived of skill development training to find appropriate employment.

Unfortunately our constitution makers failed to anticipate the drastic conflict of interest between the Government and legislators. This is because the Government representing each ministry numbering about more than 90 is headed by the elected members of parliament and Rajya Sabha. Thus each minister is mutualizing the ministry for his/her selfish motives, making money, mobilizing votes, among others. India should have a system like in USA, where none of the 23 secretaries and 23 deputy secretaries [as we have ministers] is elected representative viz. from senators or House of Representatives. The role, functions and responsibilities of senators and House of Representatives is to pass Acts and that of Secretaries is to meticulously enforce the laws exhibiting clear and unambiguous separation of Parliament and Government. Same should be in all 29 States of the Indian Union.

Similarly, the USA under the presidency of the then Mr Eisenhower in late fifties amended the constitution restricting the terms of the president only two, each of four years. Our constitution and election system need comprehensive review, debate and discussion among all stake holders and amended immediately, not later than 2019.

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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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