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Assembly Election 2020: BJP’s 370 Rhetoric Or AAP’s Growth, What Will Delhi Choose?

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A few days back, the voting process in the states of Maharashtra and Haryana were concluded, and the results were announced on October 24, 2019. As per the media reports, the voter turnout for both the states were 63% and 61% respectively. The Delhi Legislative Assembly elections are the next important elections that will take place during February 2020.

This is also an important election for all the major parties that are active in Delhi, which include the incumbent Aam Aadmi Party as well as the two major national political parties Bhartiya Janata Party and Congress. During the last election, which took place in 2015, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party formed the government with a thumping majority as they won 67 seats of the total 70 seats; BJP won the remaining three seats, and the Congress was not able to win a single seat.

Will AAP make a comeback in Delhi?

If we observe the scene during that period, it was evident that there was an anti-incumbency sentiment among the people against the ruling Congress government. When AAP came into power during 2013, they fulfilled their promises regarding the electricity bills but were unable to retain power for more than 45 days. Hence, when the elections took place again in 2015, many core voters of both Congress, as well as BJP, voted for AAP—as the party’s vision of anti-corruption and development appealed to the people.

Now it’s 2019, and after a few months, the Delhi legislative elections will take place again, where AAP will be looking forward to retaining their power. The BJP and Congress will hope to improve their statistics and give a tough fight to form a government. If we observe the present scenario of elections, one thing that is unique in Delhi elections is that they are fought on real issues such as education, water supply, health services as well as infrastructure. These are the ground issues on which AAP has started to campaign for these elections; hence, the BJP, as well as Congress, are also forced to counter AAP on these grounds.

With only three to four months remaining for Delhi elections, it is still quite hard to predict who will form the government as the BJP and Congress cadres have not started to campaign yet. This is mainly because the BJP was busy with Maharashtra and Haryana elections, and there have been reports of infighting in the Congress party. Whereas, the AAP has already started campaigning by promoting their work in the field of education, healthcare, infrastructure, reducing electricity tariffs and improving water supply. Still, if BJP and Congress start campaigning, they, too, can be contenders for AAP.

As per the current opinion, AAP has performed quite well when it comes to making the electricity tariffs more affordable for the people. During their tenure, the condition of government schools improved substantially, and the party also worked towards improving healthcare services by establishing mohalla clinics providing free health care. Other steps taken by the current Delhi government include setting up CCTV cameras to improve the security situation and taking steps to reduce pollution. Out of all this, pollution is the most significant problem that people in Delhi face.

Although AAP spokesperson said that there has been a 25% reduction in pollution, the pollution levels remain critical as Delhi is surrounded by states were stubble burning takes place. Due to these reasons, the pollution level in Delhi rises, and the opposition could seek to capitalise on this issue. But again, the fact is, those states are being ruled either by the Congress or BJP, due to which the people in Delhi might develop a negative perception towards them.

There are possibilities that the BJP might pitch their contribution in the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir—as they did during the recent Maharashtra elections—which might appeal to the voters. AAP, too, is trying to attract the voters by pitching their work and announcing various welfare schemes. However, still, there are possibilities that the people in Delhi think that the central government does not cooperate with the AAP government on many issues.

So practically, AAP does have a good chance of forming a government due to the work they have done, but it is also possible that they might not win as many seats as they did in 2015. There are reports that the AAP government has not been able to fulfill some of the promises they made. But there’s still time, and only people’s votes can decide who will form the next government in the national capital.

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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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