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JDU vs LJP: The BJP Has Its Work Cut Out In Bihar

As the Bihar elections come near, the tension rises at 1 Anne Marg, Patna, the official residence of CM Nitish Kumar. The perennial figure of National Democratic Alliance (NDA), he faces stiff competition not from the Mahagathbandhan, instead from the power dynamics within the alliance. Chirag Paswan, the National President of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), has expressed his apprehensions over the Chief Ministership of Nitish Kumar.

He has been able to corner the Bihar government over the migrant issue, Bihar floods and rampant Corona crisis. The party called a meeting of MPs in Delhi which was meant to discredit the leadership of Nitish Kumar. Chirag Paswan wrote a letter to PM Modi, raising their concerns. The LJP for the past few months have shown their allegiance to BJP, not to the JDU. This may have vexed Nitish Kumar. Equally, the JDU has tried to vociferously counter the LJPs narratives with Sushashan Babu’s (Nitish Kumar) 15 years rule.

As Bihar advances for a new face, Chirag might be looking for his ground for the future. An early attempt to guess the future is what Chirag is looking for. The father-son duo has been able to develop pockets in Bihar. Chirag’s bargaining voice in the alliance may bring a good omen for the BJP in Bihar.

It is not that the BJP is tacit to the whole power struggle. Since past, it has acted in leveraging the power strife between Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan, and now also. The weakening of the JDU will in turn help the BJP leverage the NDA ultimately. BJP has tried to undermine the old guards in Bihar, be it Sushil Kumar Modi or Nand Kishore Yadav. And then giving the new generation politicians, Nityanand Rai and Sanjaya Jaiswal a free hand in Bihar.

It doesn’t matter how many times Amit Shah recalls the leadership of Nitish Kumar, the implicitness of the BJP is visible to everyone. JP Nadda and the BJP Bihar-in-charge Devendra Fadnavis are vocal about the Atma Nirbhar Bihar worth Rs 20,050 crores, the PM-Matasya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), the high fiscal smokescreen, neglecting the 15 years rule campaign.

nitish kumar and paswans
Chirag Paswan has targeted Nitish Kumar continuously leading into the Bihar elections.

The old vanguard of the BJP in Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi, has always been on the side of Nitish Kumar. The understanding of both dates back to the time when both were involved in student’s politics. In 2017, while Sushil Modi was confronting the Mahagathbandhan on the corruption charges of IRCTC, he was at peace with Nitish Kumar. In 2013–14, when BJP announced Narendra Modi as the PM candidate, the opposition came from Nitish Kumar. Nitish gave a statement, “In Bihar there is only one Modi, and no need of another Modi.

The camaraderie of both is a cause of worry for the BJP, and soon Sushil Modi can be seen in the centre. Nityanand Rai, the BJPs OBC face from Vaishali, the bastion of Lalu Yadav and Sanjay Jaiswal, State President, are at the forefront of this election. Amit Shah has a history of backing the new generation leaders and refreshing the BJP.

Adding further dilemmas in the alliance, BJP has flagged off its Bihar task with rank and files at the Panchayat Level in all 243 seats. Fadnavis and the new generation are of the view that the BJP and JDU should be equivalent in power-sharing. The JDU, in comparison to BJP’s ground-level engagement is way back. This leads to a very obnoxious position amongst the alliance causing vulnerability in the JDU pavilion. The LJPs downplaying and constant strikes make ample ground for the BJP for a 50–50 formula in seat-sharing or maybe a new face for the chairmanship.

BJP is wary of the alliance as the discord might lead to a repetition of Maharashtra and Jharkhand. A three-party alliance gives an advantage to the BJP. It puts it ahead in role-playing activity, in contrast to the two-party alliance in Maharashtra or naively ignoring the AJSU in Jharkhand. BJP is conscious of Nitish’s vacillation. The past has shown that Nitish doesn’t succumb to pressure and vicious attacks and can easily incline towards the Mahagathbandhan.

For the past 15 years, Nitish Kumar’s perspicacious insight and withhold in Bihar has now left the nuances to subtlety visible. Notwithstanding, Nitish Kumar’s self-aggrandisement is still the only option for the JDU. The recent reshuffle and the 8 MLAs of the RJD and Congress joining the JDU can solace the party. The soft tone of Ram Vilas Paswan may tame down Chirag Paswan. However, only time can tell how much Sushashan Babu can govern and discern the alliance.

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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.

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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.

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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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