New Delhi, Sept. 16: Prakash Karat needs to do more to teach his juniors how they should strike a balance between keeping the CPM’s mother ship afloat in Bengal while seeking to sink the Congress armada.
Karat’s line of supporting Congress nominee Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential polls was defeated today in his political cradle, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), when an SFI rebel expelled over the issue won the students’ union election.
V. Lenin Kumar, who was expelled for raising the banner of revolt against the CPM’s decision to support Pranab, won the JNU union president’s post, leaving the official SFI candidate way behind.
“The SFI-JNU was formed after the JNU unit of the SFI was undemocratically dissolved… for criticising CPI(M)’s support to Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential elections. The resounding victory of the SFI-JNU-AISF alliance’s presidential candidate V. Lenin Kumar, who was among the four expelled comrades, reflects what the politically conscious student community of JNU made out of the entire affair,” a statement from the rebel faction said.
A university election with a little over 4,300 voters cannot be seen as a representative sample of the world outside but the result deals a blow not only to the SFI but also the CPM. JNU happens to be the political nursery of many top party leaders, including general secretary Karat and politburo member Sitaram Yechury. Karat was the founder of the SFI in JNU and was elected its president.
Lenin Kumar, one of the four Delhi state committee members expelled by the SFI, won the president’s post by 212 votes while the official SFI candidate Kopal Singh finished eighth among 11 candidates, polling just 107 out of 4,309 votes.
Lenin Kumar, named so because of his parents’ long association with the party (his home state Tamil Nadu has a famous Stalin, too — the son of chief minister M. Karunanidhi), is doing PhD in international studies at JNU.
The stand taken by the SFI rebels on the CPM’s line in the presidential poll was the core issue in the university election. Lenin Kumar said their principled stand against the decision to support Pranab had moved the students of JNU.
The other three central panel posts were swept by the AISA, whose parent party is the CPI-ML(Liberation). The AISA had won all the four posts in the last election.
The SFI’s rebel faction also managed to win five councillor posts in the university.
The rebels had formed the SFI-JNU after the SFI unit in the university was dissolved and fought the polls in alliance with the AISF, the CPI’s students’ wing. The CPI had differed with the CPM on supporting Pranab’s candidature.
The SFI could win only one seat in the councils. In the March elections before the SFI unit was dissolved, it had failed to win any seat on the panel and had only two councillors.
The CPM’s decision to support Pranab had raised a storm in JNU, with the SFI unit passing a resolution against the party’s line despite efforts by Karat to pacify members and convince them about the political necessity of the decision.
The rebellion in JNU followed the expulsion of Prasenjit Bose, a young face of the party who too belonged to the university, by the CPM.
CPM leaders refused to react to the results, saying it was an SFI election.
The winning student leaders however termed the victory a big “political message”. “Given the adverse political conditions we fought in, it sends a big political message,” Roshan Kishore, the expelled former president of SFI, said.