Kanhaiya Kumar, former president of Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union (JNU), is set to campaign for the Left alliance in the UP assembly elections.
The Left parties are planning to make Kumar address around two dozen rallies in the state as the ‘Kanhaiya ko bulao’ (Call Kanhaiya) chorus grows louder among activists of these parties.
Kumar, who is also leader of the All-India Student Federation (AISF), too has expressed the desire to the Communist Party of India (CPI) leaders to campaign in UP in favour of Left candidates at select places.
Sources said the entry of Kanahaiya Kumar in the biggest state’s electoral scene may or may not help the Left parties much in terms of votes. “But he will certainly prove a crowed puller for them and add more life and masala to the campaigning,” said sources.
Kanhaiya shot into fame in February 2016 when Delhi police arrested him on the sedition charge for allegedly raising anti-India slogans at a programme on the JNU campus. The speech that he delivered on his release was much appreciated by his supporters and Left parties started seeing a leader in him.
A good orator known for anti-Narendra Modi remarks, the AISF leader is believed to enjoy wider appeal among the Muslims, Dalits and the youths.
“Kanhaiya Kumar will certainly campaign for the Left candidates, especially for those who are from the AISF cadre, at around 30 places covering all the regions,” CPI state secretary Girish told Hindustan Times.
He said Kumar was much in demand by the cadre from all over the state
“Only today we received calls from many of our candidates, requesting us to rope in Kanhaiya Kumar for campaigning in their constituencies,” Girish revealed.
Campaigning by the former JNU students’ leader would benefit the Left front immensely since he enjoyed great appeal among the Muslims and the Dalits, Girish said.
His name will, however, not be included in the 40 star campaigners’ lists being sent to the Election Commission.
“He will campaign for us but we will not include his name in the star campaigners’ list because he does not represent of any of Left parties. He is a leader of an independent mass organisation,” Girish said.
The CPI, the CPI (M), the CPI (M-L), the All-India Forward Bloc (AIFB), SUCI (C) and the Revolutionary Socialist Party have formed a front against all the major political parties—the BJP, the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party which they have termed as a ‘birds of the same feather’.
They have decided to field candidates on around 140 seats and they have already announced the first list of 105 candidates.