THE ABVP having lost in the JNU student elections, its organising secretary Sunil Ambekar has blamed it on a conspiracy to create a narrative that the Sangh is anti-Dalit and an environment of fear created by JNU teachers. “The coming together of all Left parties and an environment of fear created by JNU teachers that forced students to vote in favour of the Left has helped them win the elections. A narrative that the Sangh is anti-Dalit has been created and this too has impacted us,” Ambekar told The Indian Exrpess.
“We alone are not responsible for the state of Dalits or backward communities, everyone is. But this narrative, under a conspiracy, putting the blame on us is likely to have impacted the polls.” Asked if he was referring to incidents such as the flogging of Dalits in Una, he said, “What I am saying… what happened in Una… it is unfortunate that in our country people continue to be discriminated against on the basis of caste. The Sangh and ABVP have been fighting for social equality. So those who see our efforts as a threat to their misleading politics are trying to give us a bad name.”
Asked if the Una flogging or Rohith Vemula’s suicide had an influence on the campus polls, Ambekar said, “JNU is a PG and research students campus. These are people who have a political mind and understanding. Whatever happens in society impacts things on the campus as well.” He added the alleged narrative was created out of a fear of the growth of ABVP. “We will analyse how to counter this,” he said. In the election that came seven months after the February 9 incident that led to the arrest of then JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, ABVP not only lost the lone seat of joint secretary it had held but could win only one of the over 30 council seats where it had fielded candidates. In the last polls it had 11 council seats.
Ambekar emphasised the Left had not won the polls because of its ideology but because of electoral engineering and the stranglehold of the School of Social Sciences on the campus. “The Left has campaigned on the lines of caste this time. So they may have won the polls, but they have lost their ideology. The stranglehold of Left-leaning teachers and SSS on the campus has worked in their favour. We have to break this and we will,” he said.
He mocked the Left for calling it a referendum on the February 9 incident when anti-national slogans were allegedly shouted in the campus. “If this is a referendum on that, is it also a referendum on the rape case lodged against an AISA leader?” he said. “The polarisation on the campus post February 9 incident has helped us. Our vote share has increased.” He saw a silver lining in the defeat. “Because of the pressure we created, the Left was forced to come together. Despite the pressure created by teachers, we have forced the Left to soften their anti-national stand and begin to talk about national spirit, Constitution and holding the national flag. This is our victory,” Ambedkar said.