Published: 28th September 2021
As Kanhaiya leaves left bastion, here's a list of all the JNUSU Presidents who quit left parties and joined the Gandhis
The list starts with Devi Prasad Tripathi, who was the JNUSU President (from SFI) in 1975 to '76. He joined Congress and also served as an aide to PM Rajiv Gandhi
Whether or not you were considering Kanhaiya Kumar removing his AC from the CPI office confirmation of his shift to the Indian National Congress, the news is confirmed. Kanhaiya has joined the Congress with Rahul Gandhi by his side. But Kanhaiya won't be the first of Jawaharlal Nehru University's left-leaning students' leaders to shift to the Gandhi camp.
While there must have been many others, we will stick to the JNUSU presidents from left parties who later jumped boat (boat because one can't really call either a ship). The list starts with Devi Prasad Tripathi, who was the JNUSU President (from SFI) in 1975-76. He joined the Congress and also served as an aide to then PM Rajiv Gandhi. He later left the party and joined the Nationalist Congress Party. Tripathi passed away on January 2, 2020.
The next name is closer home to Kanhaiya. Shakeel Ahmad Khan held the post of JNUSU President after being elected as an SFI candidate in 1992-93. He was also the Vice-President of the Union before that. But Khan soon joined the Congress in 1999 and is now an MLA from Kadwa, Bihar and also the National Secretary of the party.
Batti Lal Bairwa, also from the SFI, held the JNUSU President's office from 1996 to 1998 and holds the record of conducting the most number of University General Body Meetings (UGBMs) – 17. But during his second term as the Prez, Bairwa was "rusticated over an alleged altercation with a university guard". This is allegedly the time when his altercations with the SFI started gaining ground and he finally cut ties and joined the Congress. He was made the chairman of the All India SC/ST/OBC Youth Congress. But his political career wasn't that illustrious going forward. He is a Professor of Hindi at Aurobindo College, University of Delhi and also a member of the INC.
Next in line is Syed Naseer Hussain, who assumed office a year after Bairwa left – 1999-2000. Hussain was also a member of the SFI but left and joined the Congress after altercations within the party. As a student, he also led protests for 27 per cent reservations for OBC students. He is now the Chairman of the Beedi and Cigar Labour Workers Welfare Board.
After a hiatus of half a decade and a tad more, the shift to the Congress started again with Sandeep Singh, JNUSU President (from AISA) in 2007-08 also shifting to the Congress later. Sandeep went from showing black flags to Dr Manmohan Singh in 2004 to writing speeches for Rahul Gandhi in 2019. But they were good speeches. That is something many would agree with.
If we maintain chronology, Kanhaiya, once a firebrand leader from the AISF who went to Tihar and also became a pop culture icon with his Azadi song, held office in JNU in 2015-16. Well, the rest is in the daily news cycle. He has removed his AC from the CPI office and is ready to move along with a few of his liberal friends, such as Mohit Pandey, from AISA, who was Kanhaiya's successor as the JNUSU President the next year – 2016-17. He is from UP and also a part of the Congress now.