Speaking at a mass convention in the city on Thursday, All India Students Federation (AISF) leader Kanhaiya Kumar said the reason behind the declining support for the Left Front was that they were not coming out on the streets and “involving the people”.
“If Left leaders are not being charged with sedition, if they are not being framed and sent to jail, if they are not being beaten up or shoes are not being hurled at them, they are not working for the people,” said Kanhaiya addressing a packed auditorium in Mahajati Sadan, with CPI state secretary Probodh Panda seated beside him on the dais.
Earlier in the day, the JNU Students’ Union president had faced agitating BJP supporters who threw rotten eggs at him when he was on his way to the convention. However, he began his speech by asking AISF supporters not to do anything if protesters displayed black flags or flung shoes at him because they would be “exercising their democratic right”.
In his last speech as students’ union president (JNU elections begin on Friday), Kanhaiya said that it was easy for a Left leader to speak inside an auditorium and earn applause. Referring to former CPM general secretary Prakash Karat’s comments that the Modi government was exhibiting ‘authoritarianism’ and not ‘fascism’, Kanhaiya said, “There is a certain veteran CPM leader who is also a former student of JNU. He said that the Modi government was authoritarian and not fascist. To him I want to say that comrade, if you don’t want to fight anymore, please retire and go to New York. We will fight our battle.”
Citing instances of Dalits being beaten up and foreigners told what to wear in India, he asked, “If this is not fascism, then what is?”
Asked about the Left-Congress alliance in the recently held elections in West Bengal, Kanhaiya said, “I am not the spokesperson of the CPM. This question should be asked to CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury. My opinion in this context however is that to remove someone like Hitler, the Left and Social Democrats need to come together. Alliance is not for remaining in power. It is required to fight threats of communal fascism and social injustice,” he said.