OMG, there is so much corruption in politics, it’s not even funny!” Admit it, at some point you’ve said it. We all have. It is part of the usual discourse; not a day goes by without cursing the government. Bad roads? Blame it on the government. Power cuts? Blame it on the government. You get the drift.
But every now and then, one comes across beacons of hope. Those who are still in it for the people. We bumped into two such individuals while at the Bharatiya Chhatra Sansad (BCS) organised at Maharashtra Institute of Technology - School of Government (MIT-SOG), Pune amidst a crowd of 1,000 politically enthusiastic students. Women of Steel
Vandana Chavan, was honoured with the Gargi Award at the event for her contribution to women empowerment and parliamentary process. Indeed, her contribution has been manifold — from starting SMILE (Savitri Marketing Institution for Ladies Empowerment) in 1997, which has organised massive literacy drives to help women sell homewares to advocating for open spaces in Pune.
When we catch up with the National Communist Party chief and MP of the Rajya Sabha, Vandana reminisces how she always felt that she wanted to do something for the country but did not know how to channelise her zest. That’s pretty much the case even now, says the 55-year-old.
The former Mayor of Pune joined politics thinking that she would leave ASAP, but here she is, still striving for the good of the people. Sometimes, even alone.
She shares an instance when she was the municipal councillor and the lone voice against 111 corporators who wanted to start construction on the hills and mar the greenery of the Oxford of the East.
Thanks to the media and the people who backed her, her opinion was agreed upon. “That’s when I felt that if one person can make a difference, then it’s worth sticking on to,” she says.
She admits that she never felt resistance against her because she is a woman, “but a lot of my counterparts felt so,” laughs the stalwart, who was once a criminal lawyer too.
Dr Rajiv Saizal
From the hills
Dr Rajiv Saizal is from Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh. After he won the Ideal Youth MLA award, the BJP-party member shared with us that from where he comes, most of the people are farmers, hence, their problems are different from ours. “Every person says ‘just do one thing for us, give us water for our fields’,” says the 37-year-old, who has studied Ayurveda.
Dr Saizal points out that when there is a change of government, the party-in-charge abandons the previous parties’ policies for no reason at all. “This is a bane for our country — a practice followed from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Things shouldn’t be this way,” he says, adding that new people need to enter politics without any bias.
His mainstream political journey began when he became the campus president for Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and he tells us confidently that today, if we approach any citizen from his district, they will have only positive things to say about him. “As long as I am in politics, my attitude of serving people will not change and with this hope, I will keep moving forward,” he concludes.