From Swara Bhaskar to Gurmeher Kaur, eminent faces campaigning for Kanhaiya Kumar
New Delhi, Apr 14: The comrades who had led the movement for release of Kanhaiya Kumar from Tihar in 2016, following his arrest over sedition charges, are now campaigning to send him to the Lok Sabha from Bihar's Begusarai. Fielded by the CPI, Kumar, a debutant, is pitted against BJP veteran Giriraj Singh and RJD's Tanveer Hassan in Begusarai, which goes to polls on April 29.
Some of the comrades have been camping in Begusarai to seek votes for the former Jawarharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) president. Rama Naga, a former JNUSU member who was charged with sedition along with Kanhaiya, has been in Begusarai for the last two weeks.
"The government tried its best to put us down. Our name will be noted in history worldwide among those few who were charged with sedition," he told PTI.
"They wanted to portray it as a negative tag but how Kanhaiya has tried to make a positive beginning out of it and to remain attached to his roots in Begusarai is commendable," he said.
"We have moved on to different projects in our respective lives but our ideologies are still the same and this campaigning has united all of us again," he added.
Shehla Rashid, who was a prominent face of the campaign for Kumar's release, is gunning for him yet again.
"Begusarai is brimming with anticipation. After decades, people are looking forward to having a representative who can dare to speak against injustice and Kanhaiya is just about that," said Rashid, who entered mainstream politics by joining the fledgling Jammu and Kashmir Peoples' Movement earlier this year.
The BJP would have never thought that a student movement would reach so far, she said, speaking about Kumar's rally after he filed his nomination papers. The rally was joined by hundreds. Bollywood actress Swara Bhaskar, a JNU alumnus, is also in Begusarai. She was trolled on social media for supporting Kumar and Khalid in 2016.
Bhaskar was among those who joined Kumar's nomination rally on April 9, also her birthday.
"It is a rather unusual way of spending one's birthday. But Kanhaiya is a friend and I think he is fighting an important battle on behalf of us all. If he wins, it will be a victory for the Indian democracy," she said.
Gurmeher Kaur, a student activist who was trolled for her appeal to say no to war and boycott BJP's student outfit Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, is also campaigning for Kumar in Bihar. Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattarcharya, who were also jailed in connection with the sedition row, are running a campaign on social media to seek votes for the former JNUSU president.
Kumar also received the blessings of Fatima Nafees, mother of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmad. Kumar, along with others, was part of a campaign to seek justice for Ahmad. Before he set out to file his nomination papers last week, Kumar had shared a picture with his mother and Nafees on his Twitter handle saying, "I now have blessings of the mothers".
Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and activist Teesta Setalvad are also actively campaigning for the young leader. Students from JNU are also leaving for Begusarai in batches to participate in the campaigning. Kumar shot to fame after his arrest three years ago for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at an event to commemorate the anniversary of the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.