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Opinion: Why I Think NDA Will Sweep The Assam Assembly Election Of 2021

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As of 6th March, there were two opinion polls by ABP news -C-Voter. The first opinion poll was on 18th January where the seat projection was NDA-73-81 seats. UPA- 36-44 seats, AIUDF-5-9 and others 0-4. However, this opinion poll didn’t mention the vote shares. Thus, I leave this opinion poll here.

The second opinion poll by ABP News- C-Voter on 27th February 2021 was a proper opinion poll that predicted BJP led NDA to sweep the election getting 72 seats with a vote share of 43.8% vote share. According to this opinion poll, Congress-led UPA is likely to get 41.4% with a seat prediction of 47 seats. There’s just a 2.4% vote share difference and yet NDA is sweeping. Point to be noted that in the 2016 assembly election NDA got 86 seats with just 41.9% vote share whereas UPA got just 31% vote share and 26 seats.

It appears that C-Voter considers AIUDF as a UPA alliance that also won 13 seats with a 13% vote share in the 2016 assembly election. If I add the vote share and seats of UPA and AIUDF then in 2016, UPA along with AIUDF got a vote share of 43.9% and 39 seats. UPA and AIUDF combinedly got more vote shares than NDA. In this opinion poll, ABP News-C-Voters shows that NDA is getting (43.8-41.9) = 1.9% vote share more than that of in 2016 vote share whereas UPA including AIUDF’s vote share is reduced by (43.9-41.4) = 2.5%.

In this election, AIUDF and the Left parties too became a part of the UPA alliance. In 2016, there’s a difference in vote share between NDA and UPA led by Congress (minus AIUDF and Left fronts) was around 10.9% which is understandable as to why NDA registered a huge win. Is it really possible that NDA will still sweep the election with just 2.5% more vote share? Let’s deliberate on it.

I have tabulated the vote share data since the 2001 assembly election as the political dynamics of Assam were different in the pre-2001 assembly election. If the tabulation is scrutinized, then it would be clear that BJP suddenly increased its vote share in 2016 but not at the cost of Congress because Congress maintained its 30% plus vote share though it’s defeated. Similarly, AIUDF too didn’t lose any vote share rather increased up to 1%. Only AGP lost some 8% vote share which might go to BJP but still, AGP was benefitted in the number of seats. BJP has increased its vote share from others.

That means Congress still a formidable player in Assam Polity. It should have contested without bringing AIUDF and because of anti-incumbency, it could have won the upcoming election! Frankly speaking, if C-Voter’s predicted vote share of UPA along with AIUDF is just 2.5% difference, then how can NDA sweep the election? Although I am not sure but think that C-Voter has added UPA and AIUDF’s vote share after the alliance was declared. But I don’t think Congress and AIUDF’s alliance is compatible.

Well, anyone can raise a question on my incompatible reference because both Congress and AIUDF have the same minority vote bank and thus should be compatible. But the Assam political dynamic is a bit different. In Assam, there’s a feeling of Assamese versus Bengalis. AIDUF’s main vote bank is Bangladeshi Muslims or Bengali Muslims of Assam, whereas Congress’s minority vote bank is especially Assamese Muslims. Bengali Hindus already sided with BJP since 2016.

Now, Congress’s alliance with AIUDF will irk even its Assamese voters. Irrespective of religion, there’s an Assamese versus Bangladeshi feeling. The open alliance with AIUDF will make Assamese against Congress and thus likely to lose a sizable vote share. Thus, I think it’s a cardinal mistake on part of Congress.

Congress may harp on the anti-CAA protest. But it should realize that Assam’s anti-CAA protest is different from that of the rest of India. The rest of India demands Muslims from neighbouring countries should also be considered for giving citizenship whereas Assamese are demanding that even Hindus from neighbouring countries must not be given citizenship. Thus, both anti-CAA protests are quite opposite.

First and foremost, Congress doesn’t have a credible mass leader in Assam after the demise of Tarun Gogoi. Second, many of its ground-level leaders quit the party and joined BJP. The third is its alliance with AIUDF. All these three factors will really decimate Congress and thus allow NDA to sweep the upcoming assembly election.

I am waiting for upcoming opinion polls where I want to see what would be the UPA-AIUDF alliance vote share. I don’t think that would cross 30% and there will be a 10% vote share difference between NDA and UPA.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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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