Left leaders have developed cold feet over utilising Kanhaiya Kumar, the 28-year-old Ph.D student and president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), for poll campaigning in the Left bastions of West Bengal and Kerala.

Earlier, D. Raja, senior leader of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury had said that Kanhaiya Kumar could be a potential youth icon for the Left parties. “Kanhaiya Kumar is a Left activist and being a Left activist, he would naturally campaign for the Left parties,” Yechury had said earlier.

However, D. Raja has now taken a U-turn over using Kanhaiya Kumar for poll campaigns. “Kanhaiya Kumar will not be campaigning for the elections this time. He is a student now and as a student-politician, he is now focusing on student politics. He would continue to raise issues pertaining to students across the country,” Raja said.

Kanhaiya Kumar told The Sunday Guardian that he is not interested just yet in launching himself as a politician on the national stage. Kumar added that he has not been contacted for campaigning in the poll-bound states by any senior leaders of the Left parties. Amrita Pathak, one of Kanhaiya’s close aides, said: “He is the elected president of the JNU and he needs to focus on campus politics. There is also a high level committee inquiry underway that is looking into the 9 February incident and probably because of that, he might not have been considered for any campaigning.”

Kanhaiya Kumar shot into limelight after his arrest from the JNU campus on alleged “anti-national” activities on 9 February.


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