NEW DELHI:/PATNA: JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar on Friday won accolades from non-BJP leaders for his rousing ‘azadi’ speech in which he took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi; they asserted that whatever the student leader had said was true and he was more of a nationalist than those levelling sedition charges against him.
The 29-year-old’s 66-minute speech, laced with wit and sarcasm Thursday night on his return to the JNU campus three weeks after his arrest, however, did not go down well with the BJP with Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu saying he was “enjoying free publicity”. Naidu also said students in universities must study rather than get involved in politics.
“Universities are meant for education. They must study rather than getting involved in politics. If they are interested (in politics), then they can leave study and join politics,” he said. He suggested that if Kumar was interested in politics he should join his “favourite party” which, he said, sarcastically, did “not even have “single digit” representation in Parliament.
Kumar represents the All India Students’ Federation, students’ wing of Communist Party of India which has one seat each in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
“He is getting free publicity and enjoying it. The question is let him condemn those slogans, let him distance himself from them. Let him help the authorities curb such activities in universities,” said Naidu.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar backed Kanhaiya’s assertions of freedom from poverty and intolerance and said the “talented” youth leader was more of a nationalist than those levelling charges of sedition against him. “The speech given by Kanhaiya Kumar in JNU after his release from jail is very effective ... Whatever he said is true,” Nitish told reporters at Patna Airport.
“Kanhaiya Kumar said we do not talk of freedom from India but freedom in India and demand independence in this regard,” Nitish, who is a senior JD(U) leader, said.
“Kanhaiya Kumar put forth his views like ‘there should be freedom from hunger, poverty and intolerance’,” he said and hailed the JNUSU president for being able to express his outlook effectively. “These prove that our new generation has a lot of capability. The coming forward of such a talented student and youth will strengthen the roots of democracy in the country,” he added.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who tweeted, “What a brilliant speech by Kanhaiya” as the latter was speaking Thursday night, on Friday said, “I told you several times Modi ji (Prime Minister), don’t mess with students. Modi ji did not pay heed.” Another of his tweets said, “Heard Kanhaiya’s speech many times. Amazing clarity of thought expressed wonderfully.He said what most people have been feeling.God bless him.”
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the speech was “testimony” to the fact that JNU students were demanding the creation of a better India and that they were the “foot soldiers” protecting the secular and democratic character of the Indian republic.
Congress’ Ashwani Kumar said his party had maintained that Kanhaiya did not utter anything anti-national at any point and on Thursday he had made it clear through his speech.
Rajnath washes hands of probe
New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday washed his hands of on the ongoing probe by the Delhi Police on the alleged anti-India activities in Jawaharlal Nehru University last month. “Whatever Delhi Police has to do, they are doing. I have nothing to say on that,” he told reporters when asked to comment about the investigation being conducted by Delhi Police on the JNU row.