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Opinion: Narendra Modi Is Not The Correct Choice For PM

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His Childhood

Narendra Modi was born on 17 September, 1950 in a poor Gujrati Hindu family of grocers in Vadnagar, Mehsana district, Bombay State (Gujarat). He was the third of six children. His father was Damodardas Mulchand Modi and his mother was Heeraben Modi. He helped his father in selling tea at the local train station. 

In 1965, at the age of 15, a school teacher described him as an average student but brilliant debater. In the early 1970s, he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He was inspired by their ideology.

At the age of 17, he left home and went to travel across India for 2 years. Then he became an RSS propagator and spent the next 10 years doing voluntary service, championing an anti-corruption movement. At the age of 28, he graduated in political science from Delhi University’s school of open learning. He completed his masters in the subject from Gujarat University 5 years later. But his political competitors say that he lied about his education.

At age 37, he joined the RSS’s political arm: the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). His various abilities, like his Hindutva worldview, comfort with the media, rouse the RSS cadre, helped him get the post of Chief Minister in Gujarat at 51. He never lost an election after that. 

The 2002 Gujarat Riots

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In February 2002, Godhra in Gujarat, governed by Narendra Modi, an alleged spat between some Muslims and Hindu pilgrims ended up in a fire to a train carriage which caused the death of 58 Hindu pilgrims. Due to this incident, there were riots in the whole state. Different figures estimated that thousands died. More than 1000 were Muslim. 

Many brutal killings, rapes, widespread looting and destruction were also reported. In all, mainly minority Muslims were killed. Critics accused Modi of not doing enough to stem the riots. Some even believed that he encouraged them. 

He was also denied a visa to enter the United States in 2005 on religious freedom grounds because of allegations that he supported Hindu extremists during the riots. The supreme court eventually decided that there was no evidence to charge Modi with a crime. 

In my opinion, he was involved and responsible for the Godhra attacks. Even after the controversy, he was elected as chief minister three times. 

His Growth

He built his image as a muscular Hindu leader. He often repeated that he had a 56-inch chest and tried to describe Prime minister Manmohan Singh Ji as weak and inefficient. By 2013, BJP workers were firmly on his side and he surpassed his senior colleagues to become the party’s prime minister candidate for the general election of 2014. At the age of 64, on 26 May, 2014, he became India’s 15th prime minister.

 In 2015, he wore a suit with his name monogrammed on it. Critics said that he was self-obsessed and also insensitive towards India’s poor. He then auctioned the suit for a record price of ₹4.31 crore and donated the money to charity. Mostly his political schemes were unpopular and the economy went down.

Demonetisation

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On 8 November, 2016, the Government of India announced demonetisation. According to this, all ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi series were demonetised.

It hoped to create a cashless economy, finish counterfeit notes from the market, help reduce anti-social activities and their finances.

The Indian economy shrank 1.5%, according to Dr Manmohan Singh. Counterfeit notes came into the market within a week. In the speech, Modi Ji said that black money would be eradicated. But only 0.7% of the money was not returned. That indicates that people converted their black money into white and deposited it in the bank.

GST (Goods and Services Tax)

In July 2017, Modi Ji launched GST. GST is not a direct tax; it is an indirect one used in India on the supply of goods and services. The main aim of the GST was to create a common market in India. This was specially made for India’s large informal sector — which employs the vast majority of people outside of agriculture.

People were very confused about this new policy. It was not handled properly when it was implemented. While the effect of GST put the economy down, it is hoped that it would be beneficial.

But Modi lived up to his strong leader image with two surgical strikes in Pakistan. One of them was in retaliation to a suicide bombing in Kashmir just weeks before the 2019 elections. He invoked these attacks and urged voters to dedicate their vote to the martyrs. 

But his critics had grown equally vocal and even the foreign press found faults. The Washington Post said that he was silent on controversial topics such as the Rafale deal, MJ Akbar, and Time magazine called him India’s Divider In Chief.

The Farm Bills

The Farm Bills were tabled by Narendra Tomar Ji (Union Minister of Agriculture). According to him, these bills will change the state of farmers and it is a masterstroke.

The government approved three ordinances related to agriculture. According to these ordinances, it would give farmers freedom of choice. They could sell their produce wherever they wish to. These ordinances state that the areas outside the APMCs will have no taxes on sale or purchase.

According to farmers, it will be a disadvantage to them as in APMCs mandis everything is regulated, transactions are taken into account, there is a minimum support price. But outside the mandis, an MSP does not exist, with no one to regulate and ensure that the farmers are treated fairly.

By these ordinances, big companies would be able to establish themselves in the agriculture sector of India. Farmers will be easily exploited and will not get adequate money for their hard work and labour.

In short, these ordinances are bad and will not improve the state of farmers. As a result of this, farmers from around the country, mostly Punjab and Haryana, were protesting because they earn a good amount of profit with the mandi system. If the bills are implemented, they won’t earn a good amount of profit.

Declines In Several Indices

modi
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The new Women Peace and Security Index report ranks 167 countries for women based on three indicators — inclusion, justice and security. Norway claims the number one spot, which is followed by Switzerland, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. The lowest are Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, and India is ranked 133 out of 167, which isn’t good. 

The GDP of India crashed and it was -23.9% which is the worst performance. When Manmohan Singh was PM, India had a growth of 10.4%, which was the best growth in Indian history. Even during the recession, he maintained the growth. 

India’s democracy index has fallen and we are 53 out of 167 countries which is not a good performance. Countries ranked 57 and above are authoritarian regimes. From the time the BJP came into power, this index has collapsed. Freedom House downgraded India to a “partly free” country as people don’t have freedom of speech and expression.

The V-Dem organisation downgraded India from a democracy to an electoral autocracy. The indicators say that India is worse than Bangladesh and Nepal in terms of censorship. According to this report, India is in the category of Top 10 worst autocratic regimes in the world. 

Also, the UN’s 2021 World Happiness Report has said that India’s rank in terms of happiness is 139 out of 149 countries. Pakistan ranks 105. It means people in Pakistan are happier than those in India. In the World Press Freedom Index, India ranks at 142 from 180 countries. It’s also not a good performance. 

Also, just before the 2021 elections, there was a Naxal attack and he asked people to vote for the soldiers. He never talks about the economy because he doesn’t know about it and all the economists have resigned, and all who are sitting in power have no knowledge about the field. He wants people who can give speeches well and do not do anything for the country. 

Covid was increasing and he was busy campaigning. Due to this reason in Bengal, Covid cases have increased.

If respected Manmohan Singh Ji were our prime minister, the economy would have not gone down and the lockdown wouldn’t be there. People are dying due to lack of oxygen, but no, he will say “Mitron Mitron” and some BJP chief ministers are saying there is no lack of beds, oxygen and it’s all fake. Everything is black-marketing.

 Even though many countries are helping, I am damn sure people will not get the required appliances. Also, what was the need to give Bangladesh 1.2 million doses of AstraZeneca. Currently, people are getting in line for vaccines and there is a shortage of them. Actually, he wanted to project himself as he is superior. 

Due to his policies, poverty, unemployment and depressions have increased. Even fuel prices are increasing a lot. They are taking more taxes even in this pandemic and giving money to media houses and spreading propaganda, corruption. Also, he is privatising everything as he is not able to handle it. 

Also, he is wasting ₹971 crores in making a new parliament. In India, proper treatment is not there for covid patients and I have one conspiracy theory of Covid organ racket which is done on a large scale.

 I think that he was elected as India’s prime minister because he is not that educated, and he is actually leading a dictatorship because laws are passed unconstitutionally. We people don’t have the right to freedom; he is taking everything in power. Also, because of him, Yogi Adityanath withdrew his criminal cases.

The economy is crashing and he is doing nothing to boost it. Some economists say that the economic growth was actually very down from -23.9% but wasn’t estimated properly. Actually, they are fudging the data. Is Narendra Modi the correct choice for PM?

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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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