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Opinion: Blue Is The New Orange In Assembly Election Results Of 2018

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It can either be a dynasty or a democracy. It can never be both. If a prince wants to be the prime-ministers the only thing we get is a kingdom wrapped in a democratic wrapper; exactly like a candy – chocolaty inside and crunchy outside.

If it is true for a prince, it is true for a queen as well. I for one am glad, people voted her out. Come the time, people won’t hesitate in reciprocating it for the prince as well.  In a blink, Saffron “cow belt” remodeled to “Beefy Blue”,  Blue, the new Green or the soft Saffron. The vicious and the vindictive would keep us anchored to the fact that dynasty has no place in the twenty first-century India. The gasping prince did borrow some breathing air, but for himself and not for his party. The win, albeit fizzled, has revitalized the hapless and the hopeless, casting a shadow over the fact that more than 60% (2,11,22,091) voters voted against them. Why? Even with the manufactured loathing for the Queen, BJP managed 38.8% vote share i.e. only one lakh less votes than what congress received. If only the prince had kept himself at bay and away from the state, Congress would have managed a majority on its own.

The victory did come at a huge concealed price. The 2019 prospective prime ministerial candidate, once again, hopefully for the last time, lured people towards addiction, an addiction to freebies. Time and again, politicians have tried to buy voters, giving birth to vote-banks, and unfortunately were successful in their endeavors. Will farm loan waiver or any other freebie solve the problem? He himself accepted the fact that it is not a solution. Moreover, where is the money going to come from? Is there a “Made in Chindwara” machine spawning currency bills that we are unaware of? I don’t think so, I also don’t think that all the tax payers in the country come from that region. Maybe in 2019 the rhetoric would be “the center refused the funds”. The election commission of India should take strict actions to deter parties for making claims like this in their manifestos; Mr. Raghuram Rajan said this and not just me. Generations after generations and communities after communities have been paying the prices for these freebies. Freebies keep these people poor and dependent on state, which is exactly what Congress wants. It is easy to divide the dependent. I am glad that a party chose defeat rather than buying votes.

It is time when people realize that whatever is borrowed has to be returned, it does not matter if it is from a person, institution, society or nature. There are no free lunches, sooner or later there will always be a cost for “Free or Borrowed Stuff” 

Much has already been said and spoken about anti-incumbency. However, one aspect that remained obscure in Indian Politics came to surface with these elections. What if Shivraj Singh Chauhan was not contesting the elections? There has to be some reason as to why Indian Constitution does not have a clause like the twenty second amendment to the US constitution that sets a term limit for the US presidents. No president is allowed to run for the office after two terms with an exception of additional two years i.e. a maximum of 10 years. If only this one clause was added in our Constitution in some form, dynasty rule would have ceased to exist. The day Modi was declared the prime ministerial candidate against LK Advani before 2014, Congress knew they were going to witness their defeat and that’s why they tried to make fun of Modi replacing Advani. In BJP the top post deserves and is open for the best and most suitable candidate against Indian National Congress, where the top post is always reserved for somebody from the family. Its like Haryana Roadways, my baggage my seat.

Even with a vote share of 41%, a notch higher than the Congress’, BJP could not form the government. People went to polling booths, invested their time, waited in long queues and selected “NOTA”. More than 64 lakh people voted for anything other than that has nothing to do with Rahul Gandhi or Shivraj Singh Chauhan (non-BJP-non-Cong-votes). The only reason why Nehru-Gandhi family never disclose any candidate before elections is because they know “it does not matter who the face is”, the remote lies at 10 Janpath. If they would have announced the family loyalists Kamal Nath and Ashok Gehlot as the CM candidates, trust me, “NOTA”  would have become the CM for the two states.

The people of Rajasthan and MP are undergoing the same traumatic experience that Madhuri Dixit went through in the 1997 thriller Koyla when she was sent a photograph of young SRK, however, was tricked into marrying old Amrish Puri. You could decide who is who in the two states, who tricked who and who is the villain. Start at 0:40 seconds.

The last step is always the most difficult one, even though you see more blue on the map of India but the truth is that these results increased the likely-hood of a “Congress-Mukt-Bharat”. The lifeline is for the Gandhi scion and not for Congress. People did not have an option in these elections, but they would have it in the general elections. Let them bask in the glory of their superficial success. When the Modi thunder will hit them with their guards lowered, they would find solace in only one thing: Electronic Voting Machines. If only EVM’s could speak!!!


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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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