Ankita Mahendru & Kundan Jha
Politics, polls and campaigns have always been an integral part of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). This Lok Sabha elections, however, the campus seems to be moving away from its left-aligned ideology to support one of its own — Professor Anand Kumar — the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Northeast Delhi.
A week ago, several former JNU office-bearers, students and teachers started a fund-raising campaign to support Kumar in the elections.
Professor Kamal Chenoy Mitra, who joined the AAP after breaking a nearly 40-year-old union with CPI, is leading the campaign on the campus.
“Professor Kumar was president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) and has also served in the Federation of Central Teachers’ Association. So, no doubt, there is a personal fondness of him amongst JNUTA members,” Mitra said.
Professor Mitra’s house on the JNU campus is now acting as the temporary office of the AAP. His wife, Professor Anuradha Chenoy is helping him with the campaigning activities.
“Contesting an election involves a lot of money, so we decided to help Kumar out in this aspect. We started raising funds last week and have raised more than Rs 1 lakh till date,” Anuradha said. Though Anuradha is not a member of the AAP, she has come out in support of Kumar. The same is the case with many others on the campus, a fact which Kumar said has made him very happy and grateful.
“In my academic and political career, JNU has always provided me a platform. By raising funds and campaigning for me on the campus, it is once again providing me the most valuable support to win the war against crony capitalism,” Kumar said.
“We have begun our door-to-door campaigning. We are visiting all staff quarters and student hostels requesting monetary support for Anand sir, who served JNU not only as a teacher but also as a progressive reformist for over 30 years,” Sant Prakash, scholar at JNU, said.
Joint Secretary of JNUTA Kushal Singh said, “Professor Kumar has always been associated with JNUTA. Our support is specifically for Professor Kumar. Staff members are supporting him fully and we are going to call an Executive Council meeting on Friday to gather more support for him.”
The newly formed AAP’s student wing “Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti” is also assisting in the campaign on the campus.
Student body AISA said it didn’t have objection to the campaign for Kumar on the campus.
(Reporters are students of EXIMS)