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10 Important Takeaways From The Assembly Elections In 2018 That Signal What’s Coming Next

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The Congress’ position as a principal opposition party was at stake in this election with the party on the verge of oblivion. PM Modi used to ridicule congress by calling it PPP – ‘Punjab, Puducherry and Parivaar’ Party.

In keeping with recent developments, here are the 10 most important takeaways from the assembly results:

  1. The assembly election results have surely dented the BJP’s dream of a ‘Congress-Mukt’ Bharat and have left the BJP to introspect with what went wrong in three crucial states of the Hindi heartland. After all, Congress is now no longer a ‘PPP’ party.
  2. The three states of the Hindi heartland were key to the BJP’s national showing with the party winning 62 Lok Sabha seats out of 65 in 2014. This repeat of tally at present seems quite unlikely. Although much cannot be read into Lok Sabha elections from the assembly results, but surely with the government in these 3 states, the Congress party and organization will get stronger and be able to fight, plan and strategise for LS elections in a more structured and coherent way.
  3. The fact that there is disappointment and distress that has built across the very classes and social groups which voted for BJP in the past, has left party worried for 2019. There has been a drop across the board in terms of the party’s vote share and seat share. In fact, a large number of sitting BJP ministers lost their own seats in this election.
  4. These results will built a perception right before the LS elections and will speak volumes in all major national and political circles. A 5-0 defeat in assembly elections for a ruling government builds a huge perception against it and symbolizes that ‘all is not well.’
  5. The impression of invincibility that the BJP had acquired and projected under the leadership of PM Modi and Amit Shah has now been punctured. Ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections, this delivers a momentum to the challenger that it the Congress and a reality check to the ruling BJP.
  6. BJP also needs to ponder that it has lost 2 of his most popular, 3-times serving Chief Ministers – Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Raman Singh. In every election PM and BJP used to give examples of ‘good governance’ by citing the names and work done by BJP under Chauhan and Singh in their respective states. But this won’t be possible now. BJP will no longer be able to cite these states as a role model.
  7. The Chhattisgarh result has come out as a big surprise in this election. The unexpected landslide sweep of Congress against a powerful face of Raman Singh raises a pertinent question here. All those people who are asking, ‘Modi V/S Who in 2019?’ should note the fact that it was also ‘Raman Singh V/S Who?’ in Chhattisgarh this time. The Congress fought without a face under collective state leadership and emerged as a formidable winner. More than one face, they focused on issues, manifesto and agendas of the people.
  8. Indian voters aren’t going to vote against Jawaharlal Nehru, or Indira and Rajiv Gandhi in 2019. They will be voting for or against the ruling government, not against someone’s family. So, step out of that illusion and instead of asking votes against Congress, BJP should seek votes for itself. It is time to talk about your own development work rather than asking and abusing about what happened in the past 60 years.
  9. People voted for ‘vikaas’ and ‘achche din’ in 2014, not for polarisation and communal distress. But today the narrative has shifted from vikaas, employment and farmers to gau–raksha, lynching and love–jihad.
  10. It can now be assumed that the 2019 contest is open and BJP can’t take it for granted. The direct face-off between the Congress and BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has given a new boost to the morale of Congress party. This is also Rahul Gandhi’s first real victory as president of his party. This win will not only boost the morale of Congress cadres but will also enhance their bargaining power with regional parties, generate more resources and strategise for elections in a much better way.
Featured image for representative purpose only.
Featured image source: Samir Jana for Hindustan Times via Getty.
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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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