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In 12 Points, All You Need To Know About Your Candidate Before Casting Your Vote

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Facebook logoEditor’s Note: With #JetSetVote, Youth Ki Awaaz and Facebook India have come together to create a community of millennials who are aware and informed about their voter rights and responsibilities, through a series of workshops organised in collaboration with PRIA across 50 campuses. If you're a student, teacher or admin member, register your college to organise a fun session!

Before you cast your vote, it’s extremely important to know who you are voting for. What’s the background of the candidate? What are his/her previous achievements in governance? What are the red flags that should definitely make you not vote for the candidate or think twice? As a responsible voter, knowing your candidate and the party they belong to should be a must.

In a 10-minute read, here’s all that you need to know:

1. As a voter, what information about my candidate do I have the right to access?

– Records of ongoing or past criminal cases and charges.

– Assets and liabilities and those of his/her spouse and dependents.

– Their educational background.

– Copies of their nomination papers and accompanying affidavits.

– Details of any dues owed by them to the government.

Source: The India Today Group/ Getty Images

2. Where can I see affidavits submitted by my candidate?

They can be seen on the Election Commission website or on MyNeta, a portal run by the Association of Democratic Reforms whose work made it mandatory for all candidates contesting elections to disclose their criminal, financial and educational backgrounds prior to the polls by filing an affidavit with the Election Commission.

3. What is the minimum age for a candidate to contest the Lok Sabha or assembly elections?

25 years.

4. Can an individual convicted of an offence for two years or more contest an election if they are out on bail?

No. As per the rules of the Election Commission, a candidate who has been convicted of an offence for two years or more and is out on bail with their appeal pending for disposal cannot contest an election.

5. How many political parties are registered in India?

As per the Election Commission, as on July 24, 2015, there were 1866 registered political parties in India.

6. Only a small amount of the income of national parties is from known sources. What are the other sources of income and where can I see their breakdown?

Other sources of income, as mentioned by political parties include sale of coupons, voluntary contributions, donations and party funds. Income-expenditure statements, as well as information on donations, can be accessed here.

7. Whom should I vote for if I want to find a solution for issues like maintenance of roads, solid waste, parks and electricity in my city?

You should vote in the municipal corporation elections in your city. The municipal corporation consists of a committee, which includes the mayor and the councillors who look into these matters.

Source: Daniel Berehulak/ Getty Images

8. How is an MLA elected and what are his/her/their duties?

An MLA is elected through the assembly elections in every state. An MLA must be over 25 years of age. Their main responsibilities include overseeing the municipal corporation and formulating laws for the maintenance of public order, the police system, public health, agriculture, water supply and land rights. Here’s a detailed list of the duties, if you want to know more.

9. How is an MP elected in the Lok Sabha and what are their duties?

An MP is elected to the Lok Sabha through direct elections based on universal adult suffrage. Their main responsibilities are taking part in the legislative process in the Parliament and representing their constituencies.

10. Can a candidate spend as much as he/she/they wish to, for contesting an election and promoting their candidacy?

The election expenditure limit for each Lok Sabha candidate in bigger states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, etc. is ₹70 lakhs. In smaller states like Goa, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and union territories like Lakshadweep, Puducherry, etc. it is ₹54 lakhs per candidate.

For state assembly elections, the election expenditure limit per candidate is ₹28 lakhs for the bigger states and ₹20 lakhs for states like Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, etc.

11. How many MPs are there in the Lok Sabha?

Currently, there are 543 MPs in the Lok Sabha. Of these, 34% have self-declared criminal cases – and of these, 22% have self-declared serious criminal cases. Only 11% of MPs (62) are women. A detailed list can be seen here.

12. And how many MLAs are there in India, currently?

There are 4000+ MLAs in India (approximately 7-9 MLAs for every MP). A state-wise list can be seen here.

Some bits of factual inconsistencies in the piece have been rectified based on inputs by the Association of Democratic Reforms. The errors are regretted.

#JetSetVote is a nationwide movement by YKA and Facebook India to make voting fun, interesting and engaging for the Indian millennial and empower you with your voting rights and responsibilities. Read more here and pledge your vote today – because every vote counts!

Featured Image Source: Hindustan Times/ Getty Images
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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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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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