11 May 2016: Kanhaiya Kumar, president of JNUSU, who has been an active face in the past turbulence that hit JNU and the protest that followed, is in the middle of yet another row. It was alleged that he visited Kerala for political campaigning after he was released from Tihar. It was a rumour back then. He is however expected to visit Kerala to campaign for Mohammed Mohsin, another JNU student from AISF.
Kanhaiya is expected to reach Kerala on 12 May at Pattambi the constituency from where Mohsin is contesting. Pattambi will cast its vote on 16 May. Meanwhile, a contingent of students from JNU has already started election campaigns there. Mohsin is contesting elections from LDF party in Kerala. Mohsin is a research scholar at the Group of Adult Education at School of Social Sciences, currently pursuing his PhD.
CPI(M) on the other hand appears a bit reserved regarding Kanhaiya’s visit as they feel that BJP might make an attempt to invoke the JNU controversy and cast a negative light at the campaign. There are clearly two sides to this controversy. First, Kanhaiya Kumar is being trolled again given his indefinite statements regarding his political ambitions. He had earlier said, during Bihar elections that he will not delve into politics or campaign for the party. Kanhaiya Kumar is the first JNUSU president from AISF. This blatant side-visit is being questioned as the crisis in the campus has not yet subsided. The hunger strike to protest against the HLEC decision to penalize and punish students for the 9 February incident is still on. Secondly, the Congress party in Kerala as well as the CPI(M) are hoping to build up on the criticisms garnered by the Centre during the handling of the current JNU situation. BJP’s chances in Kerala, as of now, appear slim.
Rahul Gandhi would be campaigning for Roji M. John, another JNU student standing in candidature for UDF from the constituency of Angamaly. Both John and Mohsin agree that their political activism in JNU in the past months have given them eminent recognition and goodwill among the constituencies in Kerala.
“The political upheaval is foretold as Kanhaiya plans to visit Kerala. I hope this time [it] is a rumour too” says Lamees from Kerala, a student in CKS, JNU. While rumours are rife on Kanhaiya’s political avatar; the present critical situation in the campus and the blatant challenge by the Students Union (except the Joint Secretary) to BJP during and following the slander-campaign aimed at JNU, have created ripples in national as well as regional politics in the country.
- Ankita Jha is in MA-II (CPS) and works for The Informer.