• Ashish Gupta

Fadnavis's Mahajanadesh Yatra is powered by Skill Sakhi and Stree Shakti

The first phase of the Mahajanadesh Yatra has sprung many surprises. Apart from the massive response to roadshows and public rallies across ten districts of Vidarbha region through 1149 km covering 38 assembly constituencies was unprecedented. But that is understandable. The unique feature of this Yatra between August 1 and 6 was the high turnout of WOMEN.

There was not a single rally or roadshow where women's presence could be missed. Almost every rally and Swagat Sabha saw women pouring from their houses setting aside their domestic duties to catch up with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Yes, it was not just an outing to get a glimpse. They set out leisurely to listen to what chief minister had to say. At almost every rally the women seriously and attentively concentrated on the speech of Fadnavis.

The sense of participation of women in MahaJanadesh Yatra where they wanted to know and understand the policy reforms and administrative outcome is a pointer to both socio economic and political empowerment of women.

Here one came across thousands and thousands of women ---- young and old who often reciprocated with a spontaneous comment when chief minister discussed the plans for development their region. Whether it related to scrapping of article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Samruddhi Mahamarg, Ayushyaman Bharat, Jyotiba Phule Arogya Seva Yojna, Drought free Maharashtra ---- women nowhere lagged behind their counterparts men in understanding and appreciation the plan for New Maharashtra.

There are hundreds and thousands images of women dressed in their finest sarees complete with ornaments arriving at the rally. At some moment it made one wonder if it conveyed a message of celebration. But then why not. After all it has been our tradition to always live life with zest and complete. Moreover, Fadnavis was walking them to a pilgrimage undertaken for making of New Maharashtra

Whenever Fadnavis explained the objective of the MahaJanadesh Yatra, women instantly connected.

Fadnavis said, " The Yatra are always associated with places of pilgrimage and deity. In Pandharpur people worship Lord Vitthal. So Pandharpur Yatra is for Vitthal. At Tuljapur, it is Tuljapur Bhawani. At Amaranth Lord Shiva is al. So many wonder who is the God in this Mahajanadesh Yatra.

To those questioning my answer is, " The people are my God. The junta jandhan are my God. Our matadar raja are our God."

Therefore as told by our prime minister Narendra Modi we believe and practice --we are the Sevaks.

This was the central theme which women immediately associated with and often reciprocated with loud applause.

What could be the reason for the women connect to MahaJanadesh Yatra. What was reason for massive turnout.

Foremost reason is the chief minister Devendra Fadnavis whose leadership and charm has drawn them to the rallies. But more importantly, the women find in Fadnavis their hopes and aspirations being addressed. Or else what explains their response to policies.

It is difficult to imagine why a rural mid aged women would clap when he mentioned about low-cost air travel. Now, this was the village women who has never traveled even in third AC. Yet she could connect to air travel. It shows the transformation which is happening. The Tai, was seeing in Fadnavis's policies the future of her children. Otherwise, why would she burst into happiness over policies or projects. Clad in nylon saree and rubber slipper, she was depicting the dreams of million poor and lower middle class whose eyes blink seeing a big car. Or who await to catch a glimpse of helicopter or plane high in the sky.

Another notable change was the women empowerment through bachatgats.

At Chandrapur rally , almost 80 Muslim women walked to the venue. They were candid in stating bachatgats gats have connected them to Fadnavis government. And how it has helped in making their lives meaningful and providing alternative livelihood.

At successive rallies and roadshows, the proportion of women if analyzed would be at par. Definitely not less than 45 to 50 percent.

Most importantly, Fadnavis always believed and worked for women empowerment. From evolving skill development programmes to skill sakhis or livelihood mission to bachatgats there are several welfare policies tailored to suit women.

At the end of five years, these are yielding fruits. The huge women connect is a certificate to Fadnavis's leadership and sincere efforts towards women's development to make them self reliant. The approach is to inculcate in them the confidence and provide forums where they would unfold and explore their talent and potential.

Today, Fadnavis' Mahajanadesh has shown the skills of SAKHIS and power of STREE SHAKTI.


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