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Rahul Gandhi resolute in his support to JNU students

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi addresses student protesters in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty  

Brushing aside the apprehensions of some senior party leaders on debating the question of nationalism in Parliament, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is adamant on challenging the BJP government over the ongoing unrest at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), a controversy that pitted left-leaning and centrist political forces against the rightwing formations.

Apart from expressing his concern over the rising interference of the rightwing ideology as espoused by RSS in the country’s higher education sector, Mr.Gandhi made a strong case before the Congress Working Committee members on Monday that the party should defend the “integrity” of JNU by standing up for the students who have been facing the charges of sedition.

Sources in Congress said that some senior leaders had “briefed” the party president Sonia Gandhi about the possibility of facing a blowback if they put the spotlight on the JNU row in the Parliament.

But the senior Congress leader and deputy leader of the Opposition at Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, told The Hindu that the entire Congress leadership is confident about its stand on the JNU crisis.

Mr.Sharma said the “doctored videos as alleged” that show the JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar chanting anti-national slogans “exposes” the BJP government.

“The proof against Kanhaiya is not coming out,” said Mr.Sharma. “The government is busy spreading misinformation and character assassination…how can they get away from that?”

A senior Congress leader who attended the working committee meeting said that Mr.Gandhi has calculated all the political risks that are involved in defending the JNU students. “He (Rahul Gandhi) thinks that BJP’s version of nationalism resonates to some extend in north India and that too among regular middle class people,” said the leader.

The Congress leader spoke in view of the upcoming state elections in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. “In all those [poll bound] states, except Tamil Nadu, there is a strong presence of left parties, so taking up the JNU issue would do no harm to us. In fact, it will help us gain some ground in left dominated areas of West Bengal and Kerala.”

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 9:55:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rahul-gandhi-resolute-in-his-support-to-jnu-students/article8275278.ece

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