With an aim of establishing a foothold in student politics and increasing its support base, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will set up its students wing in Gujarat ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
The students wing of AAP- Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS)- which has already started its activity in its mother state Delhi, is in the process of mobilising its functionaries in Gujarat. "Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti has started working amongst the students of various universities, but its set up is yet to be formed," AAP's state spokesperson Harshil Nayak told PTI, adding that they will soon announce it officially.
AAP's state convener Sukhdev Patel terms the exercise as a political move for the character building exercise of the youth and to address issues like corruption prevailing in the education system. "CYSS will work for character building of university students...it will be planting the seeds of idealism in them," Sukhdev Patel said.
On the question of contesting university elections, Patel said, "Contesting election is a good expressions, it is not a bad work. If it is needed, we will definitely plunge into the elections."
The move may seem difficult when the seven government run universities are well-captured by Congress' students wing National Students' Union of India (NSUI) and BJP's student wing Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
A youth worker of AAP and a rights activist Jignesh Mewani believes that the party's move will give students an ideal option for youths and they do not have to make a choice between NSUI and ABVP.
On whether a college-goer will trust AAP, Mewani said, "AAP being the flavour of the season, youth will be automatically get attracted as it has come up with the new form of democracy."
"Corruption has distorted every facet of life in our society, but neither NSUI nor ABVP talk about it...AAP is rightly filling the vacuum," Mewani, who has been associated with land rights movements, said.
Political commentators see AAP's foray into student politics as a part of regular recruiting exercise.
"After getting established, every party forms its own student wing amd AAP's exercise is obvious in this scenario. AAP is preparing recruiting ground for their future political leaders by injecting their party's ideology in them," said political commentator Dinesh Shukla.
"Students will be lured as AAP has been succeeded to project itself as an ideal party and youth always want to be associated with such idealistic party," he said.
"AAP's national leaders including Arvind Kejriwal and others are younger than other parties' leaders, so obviously students will be more associated with AAP," Shukla said, adding that this move will also help the party in securing youth votes.
While NSUI leader Parthivraj Kathwadia said that NSUI has been dedicated towards students and they have faith in it, so they don't see any challenge if AAP enters into students' politics.
ABVP's state secretary Ravi Desai told PTI, "Youth do not have any faith in Kejriwal or in his Aam Aadmi Party, that was the reason why some of the youths had protested when he came to Gujarat."
"Students' politics is not an easy job, a student leader even has to face police lathicharge, I do not think AAP student leaders will be that competent," Desai said.