Kanhaiya not the only student-politician to enter mainstream politics

Kanhaiya not the only student-politician to enter mainstream politicsKanhaiya not the only student-politician to enter mainstream politics
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JNU students union presidents entering mainstream politics in Bihar is nothing new. For many who thought Kanhaiya Kumar, who shot to fame in 2016 after he was booked for sedition, was the only one to take the political plunge, there have been many more.

New Delhi: JNU students union presidents entering mainstream politics in Bihar is nothing new. For many who thought Kanhaiya Kumar, who shot to fame in 2016 after he was booked for sedition, was the only one to take the political plunge, there have been many more. Shakeel Ahmed Khan who is a Congress MLA from Kadwa in Bihar's Katihar district was the JNUSU President in 1992-93 and was also the union's Vice President in the preceding year.

While Khan had contested student union polls as member of the left-affiliated Students Federation of India (SFI), he joined Congress as he moved out of the university politics. "JNU did shape my interest in politics which ultimately became my career for the rest of my life. I will not be dishonest to say that the move to join Congress was not opportunistic but it was almost two decades back, the political atmosphere of the country was different. "Making a political career with the grand old party was in my mind but I have stuck to the party I joined despite all odds," Khan told PTI.

Khan had joined Congress in 1999 and was first elected as MLA from Kadwa constituency in 2015. Also in the league is Janata Dal (United) MLC, Tanvir Akhtar, a resident of Sherghati in Gaya, who was the JNUSU president in 1991-92 when Ahmad was the Vice President. Akhtar, contested the student union polls, on a ticket from the Congress-affiliated National Students Union of India (NSUI).

He moved out of the campus but remained with the Congress and was made the party's member of legislative council. He was also the Vice-President of the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee and President of Bihar Youth Congress. However, he joined JDU last year. "I did not switch my party in an opportunist move. Despite contributing a lot for the Congress, I was humiliated by party leaders and hence I took the decision. I started very young with NSUI which was almost negligible in JNU campus and still continues to be the that way," he told PTI.

Kanhaiya, who shot to fame in 2016 after he was booked for sedition over an event on campus during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, is making his poll debut this year from his hometown Begusarai, which goes to polls on April 29. Contesting the election on a CPI ticket, he is pitted against BJP veteran Giriraj Singh and RJD's Tanveer Hassan in Begusarai.

There were many more. Chandrashekhar Prasad, who was elected Vice-President of the student union in 1993, and eventually President, for two successive terms had returned to his hometown Siwan and was working for the Communist Party of India but could not make his electoral debut in mainstream politics as he was killed in 1997.

Former Banka MP, Digvijay Singh, a native of Gidhaur in Bihar's Jamui district, who died in 2010, was also the general secretary of JNUSU in 1982 from the Students for Democratic Socialism (DYS) outfit.

-Gunjan Sharma

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