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Will Sushant Singh Rajput’s Alleged Suicide Impact Bihar Elections?

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Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide has become a big issue for Bihar. The Supreme Court’s decision to allow a CBI probe into the late actor’s alleged suicide is being claimed as victory by almost all political parties in Bihar. At present, this has become one of the hot topics among the people of Bihar who feel that since all three central bodies viz the Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and Narcotics Control Bureau are in hot pursuit of Rhea Chakraborty and her co-hoots, a conspiracy angle is set to emerge.

Still, people are waiting with bated breath for Rhea Chakraborty to be arrested. Even the electronic media is in hot pursuit of the case to unravel some sensational story, but it is yet to surface an angle except the drug angle, which saw a few arrests by the NCB.

The moot question here is whether the CBI would be able to unravel a criminal conspiracy, if any, in the days to come, or will it die down by the time Assembly Elections in Bihar gain momentum. As a Bihari, we have sympathies over this incident as we are unable to stomach the suicide theory. The role of the Maharashtra police in stopping the Bihar Police from investigating in Mumbai adds to this suspicion. An ordinary Bihari thumps up the role of the DGP of Bihar in highlighting the callous attitude of the Mumbai police, who were able to get the IPS officer quarantined. The role of Nitish Kumar (CM of Bihar ) has also been lauded as it was his government who helped late Sushant Singh’s father in the filing of a CBI enquiry.

nitish kumar plurals ramvilas paswani bihar elections

However, it is also felt that the matter of the CBI enquiry hot up in Bihar when Shekhar Suman (Bihari actor), during his visit to Patna, expressed apprehension about the suicide theory. Sensing the mood of the common Bihari (people of the state of Bihar), other political parties also backed this proposal.

So far, the momentum of the Assembly Elections has not peaked up, as only virtual rallies by political parties, especially the BJP and JDU, have taken place as they have a large organisational base and money power at their command. Once public campaigns get momentum, each party worth their name will try to exploit Rajput’s name to garner votes. But, in my view, no single party will be able to garner votes in his name as for each Bihari, Sushant Singh Rajput was an icon and they would vote according to their conscience and caste equation.

This time, many new political parties are interested in joining the Bihar election. Among them is the Plurals (a new outfit), launched by Pushpam Priya Chaudhury. Chaudhary is trying to lure the youth in the name of Bihari pride with a development agenda. However, Chirag Paswan (LJP’s poster boy) also takes pride in claiming the slogan of ‘First Bihar Nitish Kumar’ and talking about development. Similar plank, besides others, is being advocated by the BJP, JDU, RJD, INC, Pappu Yadav-led Jan Adhikar Manch and other smaller parties.

Till now, the political arena is wide open as opposition parties, namely RJD, INC, RLSP, CPI-ML (Lib), CPM and a few others, including Yashavant Sinha (former state Finance Minister), have not been able to stitch a coordination committee, and on paper, the BJP and JDU appear on top with a strong footing. Sensing the dislike of the RJD leaders, HAM (Jitan Ram Manjhi) has changed his position. The only uncomfortable probability in this strong unity of the NDA is the LJP, as Chirag Paswan sounds different this time.

If the BJP can bring this ally again to this larger dispensation, the NDA will certainly have an edge in the election. But so far, they appear to be organisational strong. People’s mood is yet to be judged as due to the lockdown, resentment among a large number of migrant workers could tilt the favour in either side.

However, in politics, anything is possible and all political combination need to take a large population in their favour. An interesting development will surely be unfolded in the days to come.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author and in no way represent views of any organisation, company, etc.

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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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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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