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Is Rahul Gandhi 2.0 Strong Enough To Be The PM In 2019?

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After the 2009 Lok Sabha election results, a famous journalist wrote a piece arguing that in the 2014 elections, the fight will be between the Congress Party and various regional parties. The BJP, it predicted, would be broken as a national alternative.

But  politics is the game of glorious uncertainty. Things change in a few months. After 2012, we saw the rise of the Modi juggernaut  which attained its peak in the 2014 general elections. Congress saw its lowest tally of seats – 44.

Since then, the BJP has won most state elections in various ways. But since the last two months, we are seeing a resurgent Rahul Gandhi giving Narendra Modi a run for his money. If we deeply analyse the state-wise situation, then I, personally, can surely say that Rahul Gandhi is going to be Prime Minister in 2019.

Here are five points to back up my argument for which I might be called ‘anti-national’.
BJP got 282 seats, out of which 87 were from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh. In these states, the BJP was in direct fight with the Congress. If we see the situation in these states, the BJP has been losing ground big time.

In Rajasthan, four by-polls were held in the last three years and Congress won three of them. Most importantly, three seats were vacated when MLAs of BJP got elected as Member of Parliament after 2014. It clearly proves that in Rajasthan, the BJP is losing ground due to the hard work of Sachin Pilot.

In the case of Madhya Pradesh, in 2014, BJP won 27 out of 29 seats, but in 2016, in the Ratlam-Jhabua parliamentary by-polls which occurred due to the death of the BJP MP, Congress’ Kantilal Bhuria won by over 88,000 votes. In the recent Chitrakoot assembly by-polls, BJP lost badly. It shows that Madhya Pradesh is slipping away from the BJP.

The case of Gujarat is well-known to the world. Due to different movements by young leaders, the BJP had to remove its chief minister and now, in the run up to the assembly elections, we are seeing a troubled and nervous Prime Minister even trying to use other means to affect the election. In Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi is at his best and it will be better to say that this is Rahul Gandhi version 2.0.

In the case of Uttar Pradesh, BJP won 73 out 80 seats in alliance, getting 40.8 % of the vote share in 2014. In 2017 assembly polls, the BJP alliance got 39.7% votes, getting 325 seats out of 403. In numbers, BJP is going down. But here, the issue is that the combined vote share of Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the BSP is around 51 %. If a three party alliance materialises, the story of Uttar Pradesh will be completely different.

In south India, there is anger against AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. With Jayalalitha’s death and infighting within the AIADMK ranks, it looks like the Congress and DMK alliance can get maximum seats from Tamil Nadu.

In Kerala,with three ministers of LDF alliance resigning in the last one year, the situation is improving for the Congress-led UDF.

In West Bengal, both Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and the Left parties cannot ever side with the BJP in case of a hung parliament. Also, with Amit Shah going after Bengal, both parties will probably try and see Congress in power at the Centre and remove Modi.

In North India, Punjab is for Rahul Gandhi what Karnataka was for Indira Gandhi after 1977 loss. Punjab results gave Rahul Gandhi and the Congress some relief as did the Gurdaspur by-poll results.

Taking this into account and the failures of the BJP on the economic front – like jobless growth and the note ban and the GST – the people of India might give a resurgent Rahul Gandhi a chance. The Indian parliamentary system is a game of permutations and combinations and 2019 will probably be a good year for Rahul Gandhi.

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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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