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Will BJP’s Gujarat Model Lose To Young Congress And Patidar Leaders?

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Though the Gujarat model has brought satisfactory results for the BJP in the past – these days, it has left the party’s proud politicians confused, with their nerves about to be weakened further. There’s also this impression that it has lost its charm among the emerging young turks.

There are certain views prevalent on Gujarat’s political horizon. “Three young caste leaders – Jignesh, Alpesh and Hardik – have emerged as a powerful counterpoint to religious politics,” writes the columnist, Sagarika Ghose. The crowd surging at the Patidar leader Hardik Patel’s election rally is a solid proof of the public’s avowal to the new leaders.

They are definitely backed by the Congress party, led by a not-so-youthful 47-year-old leader. They seem to have established themselves as mass leaders. Their personalities, unique sense of humour, blunt confidence and the unexpected warmth they have received among the people of Gujarat have compelled the ruling party to acknowledge the threat.

This was, to some extent, noticeable during a recent television debate among the BJP leader, KK Sharma, the RSS thinker, Avinash Awasthi, the Congress leader, Akhilesh Singh and the pro-Hardik politician Atul Patel. Though they were discussing a topic, none of them looked particularly biased in their opinions.

When Atul Patel started to speak about the panchayat and civic bodies’ poll figures, it seemed that the saffron party may indeed find it tough to re-establish its fading shine of the much-publicised Gujarat model. He also cited various instances which indicate that the nearly-quiet Congress indeed got a ray of hope in Gujarat. Apparently, this was also Rahul Gandhi’s motivation in launching a scathing attack on the ruling BJP in Gujarat.

In his opinion, rural and the semi-rural Gujarat can work wonders for the lifeless Congress party. Rahul Gandhi, is by now, quite certain of securing the votes of the Muslims, who account for about 10% of the state’s population. With the open support extended by the three popular young turks, he looks further sure of getting a majority of assembly seats in the Legislative Assembly.

If we provide details of the both the parties’ condition in the past years, we can evaluate the situation easily. According to news reports, the Congress wrested 23 out of 31 panchayat seats, securing about 48% of the votes in 2015 . The BJP, on the other hand, obtained only six panchayat seats with a vote share of around 44%. In 2010, the Congress had a 44% vote share, while the BJP held sway over as many as 30 panchayats with a 50.26% vote share. Similarly, the Congress won 134 of 230 taluka panchayats (up from the 67 it held in 2010) with a 46% vote share, while BJP could only gain a 42% vote share.

Further, the Congress could secure only 33 Assembly seats in 1990 – down from its record of 149 seats which it held in 1985. It got 45 seats in 1995, while the BJP secured a majority with 121 seats. In 1998, the Congress was able to win 53 seats, as compared to BJP’s 117. In 2002, its tally further decreased to 51. In 2007, Congress’ tally stood at 59, and in 2012, the party’s tally was 61. Despite the Congress’ successes in 2015, the BJP won all the six municipal corporations.

What all of this means for Gujarat will only be clear after December 18, 2017.

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Featured image sources: Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images, hailesh Raval/India Today Group/Getty Images
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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