KOZHIKODE: Energised by the discussions over campus politics at the Government Brennen College, the Kerala Students’ Union (KSU) — the Congress’ student wing in the state — has decided to strengthen its activities in the institution by reinvigorating the college unit.
After dominating on the campus for decades, the KSU was pushed to the sidelines from 1980s, as it could not present any significant challenge to the CPM’s Students’ Federation of India (SFI) in the campus elections for the past three decades.
“We will erect our flag post on the campus once it reopens and actively engage in campaigning,” said M C Athul, who has been elected the new president of KSU college unit. The unit conference was held online, taking into consideration the Covid situation.
“It is true that KSU’s presence on the campus has dwindled over the years, but it is mainly due to the intimidating atmosphere created by the SFI,” Athul said.
“We have started debunking the stories cooked up by the SFI to malign our organisation. ‘Smruti’, a column where former activists in college share their memories, has started appearing in our FB and Instagram pages,” he said.
Athul, who was the leader of the KSU at Nirmalagiri College as well as Guruvayurappan College, alleged that KSU activists are often threatened by foisting false cases against them.
“We know such strong-arm tactics will continue, but we will go forward,” he said. KSU state president K M Abhijit, who inaugurated the meeting, said the SFI was nowhere to be seen when his organisation staged various struggles, including the one calling for a CBI probe into Walayar case or the PSC appointment issue.
“We will try to create a democratic space on campuses, including at Brennen, overcoming the limitations of campus politics. The proposed revamping of the organisation will add more vigour to the process,” he said.
Jithi R Nath, KSU activist who contested elections in 2014, alleged that the left-leaning staff at the college often colluded with the SFI.
“KSU had given a notice for strike after then chief minister Oommen Chandy was attacked in Kannur in 2013. But the college authorities insisted that we hold a procession on the campus, shouting slogans to announce the strike. The authorities as well as the SFI knew no one will dare to do so. As the boys were scared, I took out a one-person procession on the campus,” she recalled.
Refuting the allegations, SFI district secretary Shibin Kanayi said the KSU was decimated from the campus because of the politics of violence it practised. “KPCC president K Sudhakaran himself said he attacked his opponents. The KSU leadership should clarify if they agree with his statement,” he said.
“KSU, ABVP and Fraternity are all contesting the elections, but they don’t have any support from students. The SFI usually gets a brute majority of votes in the elections, which shows that the organisation enjoys students’ support.” Pointing out that KSU is active on many campuses in Kannur including SN College, Krishna Menon Memorial Women’s College and University Centre at Palayad, Shibin said it was not SFI’s problem that they don’t have a support base in Brennen College.