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The 2021 Assembly Elections Are About Power Retention And Expansion

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In 2021 India will be having 5 assembly elections. States which are going for the polls are West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and one Union territory is Puducherry. Maybe in the month of march the Election Commission Of India will announce the dates for the state’s election.
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The BJP will be feeling confident in several states, but the theory of retention and expansion will play a role everywhere.

This election is basically based on the theory of retention and expansion. In West Bengal, where BJP confidence is too high after winning the 18 seats in the general election 2019. In Kerala, CPM is confident to win two elections in a row to break the 40 years jinx of assembly election. In Tamil Nadu, DMK and its ally want to repeat the Lok Sabha momentum. DMK is out of power for a decade. In Assam, the local player will set the narration for the election. Puducherry will be the perfect example for expansion or retention. Recently due to turf between Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi and Ex. CM Narayanasamy.

West Bengal And TMC

West Bengal is the favorite state among all the poll bounding states. Here RSS and BJP’s mission expansion has to be executed. BJP and RSS along with its 33 subsidiary organizations are working for the power they want to pursue for a long time. NDA will be fighting the election as they are fighting everywhere on the ideology of Hindutva. In a recent interview with India Today, Home Minister Amit Shah made it clear that they will fight the election on cultural issues.

After seeing the performance of BJP in Lok Sabha 2019, TMC got a setback. Mamata Banerjee tries to build good relations with the other opposition parties like INC and the left Parties but failed. After losing her close aide like Mukul Roy, Arjun Singh, and Suvendu Adhikari. After all these setbacks Mamata Banerjee hired Poll Master Prashant Kishor team IPAC.

Since June 2019 Prashant Kishor started working for TMC. His team is playing a very vital role there. Famous Journalist from West Bengal Snigdhendu Bhattacharya also mentioned that Prashant Kishor is running a campaign for TMC make-over. Prashant Kishor has taken the Bengal election as a challenge. He tweeted that if BJP will cross two-digits he will leave the space.

The Tamil Nadu Elections

2021 Tamil Nadu assembly election is the first election without two veterans Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa. Last time Congress performance in the state dip the DMK. Only 16% of seats were won by the Congress party whereas DMK won its 50% seats. UPA which is consists of DMK and INC will be wanting to repeat the Lok Sabha performance in the state assembly. DMK also not in the mood to entertain Congress. They had given their share in a good amount during Lok Sabha election time.

DMK is not leaving any stone unturned. They have hired IPAC which is the Prashant Kishor team. They are running a campaign to win the election for MK Stalin. On the NDA side, BJP allied with AIADMK to expand its wing there. The powers fight within the AIADMK may affect them. Before the election, VK Sasikala completed her punishment and now out. She might create confusion among the voters. As she is trying to promote her nephew. BJP here looks for expansion. They got AIADMK as their partner may now but in the future, they will be a big brother.

Impact Of The CAA And Assam

Assam election may lead to the emergence of the regional party. Many regional leaders came during the time of the CAA protest. CAA was the dream law brought by the ruling party at the center but it became the skeleton in their throat. The regional interest matters a lot in the Assam assembly election. There is a vacuum of leadership. Tarun Gogoi the veteran INC is also no more. Two of the famous punch line of the BJP will suit for the Assam election are ‘Vocal For Local’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Assam’.

Locals who will be vocal about their interests are Akhil Gogoi, Pranab Doley, Lurinjyoti Gogoi, and Badruddin Ajmal. Assam BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma said recently that he doesn’t want to fight an election. If he really doesn’t fight this message will impact BJP. Congress here trying to get back the Assam where they ruled for three consecutive terms. They are following the Chatishgarh mode of election in 2018. They are allying with regional parties but not opening the card on the CM’s face.

The Only Remaining Left Bastion

Kerala is the only bastion of the left remaining. The most important point that comes here is that Ex Congress President Rahul Gandhi is MP from Wayanad. He is aggressively campaigning for his party. BJP also trying their best. They have tried to use the Sabrimala temple issue. The buzz came soon after as a local news channel Asianet News-CFore showed the opinion polls that LDF may break 40 years jinx of Kerala Assembly. In Kerala right now retention policy will be the prominent one.

Puducherry is a union territory. Here UPA and NDA are in the battle. NDA is consists of BJP and AIADMK whereas UPA is consists of INC and DMK. Recently UPA lost its majority in the assembly. The reason behind this collapsing was the nomination of three MLA by the ex. Lt. Gov Kiran Bedi. Here may be BJP will try to become the big brother after the election.

Out of five assembly elections, almost expansion will matter for the BJP whereas retention will matter for Congress in four states except for West Bengal. Assam will lead towards the emergence of regional parties we had witnessed around the ’90s.

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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.

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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.

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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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