Kanhaiya lashes out at Central government during campaigns, right-wing had earlier cancelled his lecture at varsity

Vice-chancellor says she got ‘oral orders’ from ‘above’ to cancel the event

The poster boy of secularism, Kanhaiya Kumar who was on a whirlwind campaign tour for the elections, mesmerized collegians with his ‘Azaadi’ anthem in Mumbra last Friday.

The CPI leader, who not only canvassed for his party, but also candidates from the opposition said that ideologies and integrity were of utmost importance to him.

Speaking against the Centre, Kanhaiya said that the ruling party was trying to cover up real issues of lack of basic amenities, education, health and employment, by harping on matters like Pakistan’s issue with Kashmir and the issue about the Ram Mandir, all for political gains.

Taking a potshot at the poll promise of conferring a Bharat Ratna on Veer Savarkar, he said, “I was passing by the Savarkar Chowk in Aurangabad and found that the entire road was full of potholes. If they cannot build good roads at Savarkar Chowk, what good is in giving him the highest honor?” He was there campaigning for CPI candidate Abhay Taksal from Aurangabad Central.

While also campaigning for party candidate Vijay Dalvi from the Sion-Koliwada constituency in Maharashtra, targeting the BJP-led Union government he alleged, “There are attempts to place curbs on democracy and independent institutions like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Judiciary.”

Dissent still Stifled
Last week, the former Jawaharlal Nehru Students’ Union (JNUSU) leader was to attend a programme organised by a federation of various Dalit and student bodies and speak on the topic ‘Responsibility of the Youth in Protecting Indian Constitution’. Though the organisers had obtained permission to go ahead with the event twice, it was withdrawn at the last moment, The Telegraph reported.

Parimala Ambekar, the vice-chancellor of Gulbarga University where the event was to be held, abruptly withdrew permission shortly after Hindu right-wing organizations such as the Sree Rama Sene threatened to disrupt the talk.

Ambekar who received strong criticism from the students and other progressive groups, clarified her stance in an impromptu news conference saying that she had to cancel the event following ‘oral orders’ from ‘above’ and had exercised her discretionary powers.

Blaming the BJP for the cancellation, he said, “Don’t people from other political parties and streams of thought address students in the university? “This is gross misuse of power to suppress dissent. Why is Modi bent on creating problems?” He questioned, if other party leaders were allowed to hold lectures on varsity campuses, why was the government trying to single him out?

Following the cancellation, progressive groups held a sit-in protest outside the Deputy Commissioner’s Office. Writers, among other liberals who opposed this meddling of the government, said that the cancellation was indicative of the rot set in due to Hindutva Politics being spread by the BJP and its affiliates like the RSS.

Later that day, Kumar addressed a huge crowd at the Vishveshwaraya Bhavan where he said that he wasn’t in Kalburgi to speak in favour of any political party ahead of the upcoming by-elections in Karnataka, but to emphasize the relevance of the Constitution in a democracy.

On October 21, at a lecture in Patna organized by IPTa on ‘Culture of India and Our Federal Republic’, he said, “The sovereignty of the states is being interfered with by taking religion as the basis. The culture of India is of diversity. In the federal structure, no one should feel that they are being treated moderately. Today those in power are trying to break the federal structure and add it. Through the medium of publicity, today, the thinking of human beings has also been made a waste. Politics was also disengaged.”

In today’s growing autocratic atmosphere, Kanhaiya is one of the strongest dissenting voices trying to break the shackles of spreading dictatorship. Given the arm-twisting tactics of the Centre, will his voice continue to blare through the din of Hindutva? Only time will tell.

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