Regarded by students and the faculty as one of the most popular and highly respected professors of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Anand Kumar has this time thrown his hat in the political ring in Delhi as the Aam Aadmi Party candidate from North-East Delhi.
Prof. Kumar is now on a leave of absence from the University and is busy walking the dusty and narrow lanes and bylanes of North-East Delhi, listening to the problems of people and offering them a political alternative.
“As a professor, I am asked question almost everyday on everything. However, I am taken aback by the tough questions people ask me during campaigns. They ask me pointed questions like how can they trust us when we left the government in 49 days. They also ask me if I intend to throw away my post if I get elected.”
“It doesn’t matter if you are a professor or an illiterate person, questions will never go away. My students used to ask me tough questions too, but they usually have a diffident sort of approach,” he said, adding that another thing that distinguished his lectures and his public speeches was the absence of “pin drop silence” when he spoke.
Although Prof. Kumar has the distinction of being the students’ union president in two central universities (Banaras Hindu University and later in JNU), he also held a post in the teachers’ union. This is his first tryst with politics outside the campus. “If you want change in the system, you have to be involved in bringing it, whether you like it or not. I was very involved during the Assembly elections in managing and mobilising a volunteer force given my close association with young students.”
His campaign is based on essential requirementslike water and electricity. Apart from these, other issues like police extortion, education and employment are his areas of focus.
“As someone involved with students and teachers, I will be pushing for a Northeast campus in Delhi University on the lines of North Campus. People have been denied essential services like transportation. We know that money has been allotted for this purpose but work has never been carried out because of the 40 per cent migrant population.”