Skip to main content

BJP-AAP collusion? Delhi polls didn't deter anganwadi workers' protest for demands

By Harsh Thakor* 

Even when the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections were on, one section that seemed to feel totally neglected was the state's anganwadi workers and their helpers. Organised under the Delhi State Anganwadi Workers' and Helpers' Union, they have been campaigning for their rights ever since 22,000 of them went on a historic strike from 31st January 2022.
The 39 day strike saw the Aam Aadmi Party's Delhi government and the BJP's Central government colluding with each other, terminating it by imposing a six-month Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) through the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.
Following this, the Women and Child Development Department (WCD), Delhi, terminated the services of 884 women caregivers who spearheaded the movement for participating in the strike. For most of these women workers, honorarium from anganwadi work was the only source of income as a sizeable number of them act as sole breadwinners of their families.
Union president Shivani Kaul believes, the 38-day strike not only posed challenge to the Delhi and the Central governments but also exposed the bankruptcy or futility of the entire system. The retaliation by the authorities prompted the decision of the Union to campaign for impose a complete embargo on the entry of candidates and workers of the two parties in the areas where anganwadi workers and helpers and live.
A campaign was launched in November third week about how the two parties had betrayed anganwadi workers and helpers. They pointed towards how, despite being frontline workers, they were neglected. Many of them were terrorised against any resistance.
A gherao was staged at the Kashmiri Gate on the issue of termination of 884 workers. Leaders said, AAP leader Navlendra Kumar was now issuing threat to the Union leaders, though he had earlier promised to address their demands. A protest was organised outside the office of Gautam Gambhir, a BJP leader. Slogans were raised condemning how the ruling party was hoodwinking the workers, and diverting and dividing them.
Union leaders insisted, pro-people forces should unite in exposing and confronting bankruptcy of the social system at the very base. There was a rally in Kamala Nagar area, followed by gherao of the houses of labour minister Gopal Rai and leader Naresh Balyan in Badarpur and Uttam Nagar respectively. Effigies of the two parties were burned.
Activist Priyambda narrated how the Aam Admi party was establishing a vote bank and literally paying no notice to the demands of the anganwadi workers. She recalled how during the 39 day strike of women workers the party had shown absolute apathy. In her view the AAP was in essence similar to the BJP.
*Freelance activist who has covered mass movements all around India



Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Mark Lee: A spiritual leader who thought conventional religions are barrier to liberation

  By Harsh Thakor*  The Krishnamurti Foundation of America (KFA) lost Roger Edwin Mark Lee, who was a devoted disciple of Jiddu Krishnamurti, one of the greatest and most self realised spiritual philosophers of our time. Mark passed away due to pneumonia complications on April 6, 2024, at he Ventura Community Memorial Hospital in California. His exit was an irreparable loss to the spiritual world.

Fossil fuel projects: NGOs ask investors to cut TotalEnergies’ main sources of finance

By Antoine Bouhey, Lara Cuvelier, Helen Burley*  Reclaim Finance has joined 58 NGOs from around the world, including Banktrack, in signing an open letter calling on banks and investors to stop participating in bonds (loans granted by investors and facilitated by banks) issued by TotalEnergies. The 58 NGO signatories include , Amazon Watch, BankTrack, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR, Papua New Guinea), Justiça Ambiental (Mozambique) and Friday for Future (Uganda), Oil Change International and Urgewald (Germany).