The Congress and the Left parties in West Bengal have taken their alliance from the electoral turf to student politics, presenting a united front against right-wing groups at Jadavpur University.
Chaos prevailed on the university campus on Friday evening after BJP-affiliated filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri tried to screen his movie ‘Buddha in a Traffic Jam’ here, much to the chagrin of students. However, the Jadavpur Alumni Association – which controls the hall where the screening was supposed to happen – revoked permission for the same on the grounds that it would violate the model code of conduct. Following this, Agnihotri decided to use the university playground for the purpose.
Students of the university, who were protesting against the event, alleged that a group of middle-aged BJP supporters with ABVP flags began heckling them soon after the screening was completed. BJP leader and actor Roopa Ganguly was also spotted outside the campus.
The university then lodged a complaint with the police while the BJP submitted a deputation to governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who is the chancellor of the university. Soon afterwards, the Congress approached the governor too.
“What was Roopa Ganguly doing outside the Jadavpur campus? She is neither a student nor an alumni member of the university. The BJP is playing unnecessary politics on the Jadavpur campus to establish itself here,” said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the state Congress president.
Jadavpur University professor and Congress spokesperson Om Prakash Mishra raised a similar concern.
“The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad wants to replicate its politics of polarisation here, in the name of so-called nationalism. They have already tried to impose the same strategy on other educational institutions,” said Mishra.
Members of the Students Federation of India and the Faculty of Engineering and Technology Students’ Union, two major students’ unions of the university, organised a protest rally from the campus to the city’s Golpark area on Saturday.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders said this was a strategy of the BJP to capture the students’ body of the university, where they currently have no stake. “It’s a conspiracy (of the BJP and RSS) to destroy progressive and free thought on the campus. Jadavpur University should stand together to fight all such political conspiracies,” said Nandini Mukherjee, a party leader and professor of the varsity’s computer science department.
Mohammed Salim, a politburo member, claimed that as the ABVP enjoys zero presence in educational institutions of the state, they are “resorting to extremism to gain a foothold here”.
The Congress and Left parties, which fought the Bengal assembly polls under a grand alliance, hope to prevail over the ruling Trinamool Congress when the results are announced on May 19.