JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, who had earlier ruled out campaigning in the West Bengal and Kerala assembly polls, has now decided to plump for a fellow JNU comrade who is in the fray for the May 16 elections in Kerala.
Ever since he walked out of Tihar jail, where he was lodged in a sedition case over an event on campus, Kanhaiya had been maintaining he was a student and not a “politician” and that he had no plans of campaigning in the assembly polls.
However, the 29-year-old research scholar says he decided to join the campaign after Muhammed Muhassin, CPI candidate for Pattambi seat in Palakkad, mooted the idea.
“He has stood by me, so I decided to hit the campaign trail,” Kanhaiya said.
Muhassin, is a student at JNU’s School of Social Science (SSS) and is about to complete his PhD in Adult Education. He is also the vice-president of JNU unit of All India Students Federation (AISF), the student wing of Communist Party of India (CPI).
Kanhaiya, who is the first AISF member to be elected JNU Students Union president, was arrested in February in a sedition case over an event on JNU campus against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. Muhassin, was among those who led the agitation for Kanhaiya’s release.
“I still maintain that mainstream politics is not my calling and I have no intention of joining it. I still plan to stick to my goal of being a teacher but with Muhassin it was different. He has stood by JNU, stood by me all the time, I couldn’t refuse him,” Kanhaiya said. “And not only me but the entire AISF unit of JNU will support him. Besides, the JNU unit of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) will also travel to Kerala to campaign for him,” he added.
Asked about the campaigning schedule, Muhassin told PTI over phone from Kerala, “Kanhaiya along with the IPTA group and JNU students is expected to be here in the second week of May. He also plans to go to Patna before that where he will address a public meeting. Kanhaiya may also visit his family during the same trip.”
After the electrifying speech Kanahaiya delivered on his return to the campus from jail, the CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury had said the student leader would be campaigning for Left parties in the Assembly polls. However, he later stated that Kanhaiya will not travel to Kerala and West Bengal to campaign citing the bail conditions and other issues. Kanhaiya too had ruled out campaigning, saying mainstream politics is not his calling. Kanhaiya had campaigned in south Delhi during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and in Begusarai, when his home state Bihar voted last year.