Student activists from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Kanhaiya Kumar and Shehla Rashid, who led the university's protests from the forefront in 2016 have reportedly indicated that they will be contesting in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
While Kumar was elected president of the university's student body, Rashid was elected vice president. Kumar was a representative of Communist Party of India-affiliated All India Students’ Federation (AISF), and Rashid was a member of CPI-ML-affiliated All India Students’ Association.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Kanhaiya Kumar said that one should never rule out him contesting elections. He reportedly added that if the Rashtriya janata Dal (RJD), along with the Congress and the Left formed an alliance in Bihar, the state Kumar hails from, he can be their candidate.
Stating that he would contest elections on a big political party's ticket, rather than as an independent, Kumar reportedly said:
I believe in organised politics. If I contest any election, it will be through a mainstream party. This is very clear. I don’t believe in individual charisma or all that.
Speaking to the newspaper about her plans for the 2019 elections, Rashid said that she hadn't picked a constituency yet, but she wasn't averse to the idea of contesting the polls.
“If Opposition parties now feel that the Constitution is in danger, then we have a role in highlighting that fact. I’m not in it because it’s easy, but because it’s important,” Rashid said.
Both Kumar and Rashid have been vocal in criticising the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre. They reportedly added that it was important for "liberal, progressive forces" to forge a larger alliance in the run up to 2019.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)