The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is indeed a precious resource, for it continuously feeds the public sphere with questions and answers, with challenges to accepted truths and alternative outlooks towards sensitive issues.With another round of elections coming up this year, here are the candidates officially contesting for the Presidential elections.
Mohit K Pandey, All India Students’ Association-Students’ Federation of India (AISA)
PhD student, Centre for Media Studies (School of Social Sciences)
With an outlook about the world around him from a very young age Mohit K Pandey had an early exposure to Student Unions and Political Movements. Pandey completed his BA in Mass Communication from Lucknow University.Born in Lakhimpur Kheri in UP, he was first exposed to All India Forum for Right to Education (affiliated with the CPI-ML) while pursuing his Post Graduation in Bhopal.The connection later became more prominent and powerful while he was doing his M. Phil in the University of Hyderabad where he was an active participant in the campaign against the Lyngdoh Committee Recommendations.An individual with strong leftist ideologies Pandey will focus on issues like implementing reservations in direct PhD courses, and reinforcing and the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment of the campus during the elections.
Janhawi Ojha: Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP):
PhD student, Parasitology (School of Life Sciences)
Hailing from Chhapra, Bihar, Janhawi Ojha has done her BA and MA from Banaras Hindu University. Hailing from an apolitical background she was an early sympathizer of ABVB.Since joining JNU in 2012, Ojha is an active political activist of ABVP. According to her the psuedo feminism in the Campus kindled the activist in her and she started working more profusely for the welfare of all especially women.Despite being the cultural secretary of the ABVP JNU unit, she never had any interest in contesting elections, until the February 9 incident that marked a new chapter in the Book of History of JNU as Anti National Slogans were raised in the campus.With an agenda to strengthen GSCASH, Ojha has also plans to make JNU a complete Wi-Fi powered campus. Its noteworthy that she is the only female candidate contesting for this year’s election.
Sonpimple Rahul Punaram: Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA):
MPhil student, Centre for the Study of Social Systems
With an agenda to reduce viva-voce marks and implement deprivation points for Muslims, among other issues, Sonpimple wants there to be an oppressed unity of Dalits, Adivasis, and women and people from the North East and Jammu and Kashmir. Son of a construction-worker mother from a slum in Nagpur, Sonpimple became politically active early in life. Having supported his family from a very young age, Sonpimple is a Self-Made man.The Khairlanji massacre of 2006 had a major impact on his life as it made him aware of the caste discrimination of the society.An active member of the Ambedkarite movement, during his graduation in Sociology from Nagpur, he formed an organization called the Youth for Self & Social Change with friends.The leader inside him grew further as an MA student of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences where he came in contact with the United Dalit Students’ Front of JNU.
Sunny Dhiman: National Students’ Union of India (NSUI):
PhD student, Centre for Studies in Science Policy
Hailing from the city of Muzaffarnagar in UP, Dhiman was initially associated with the Left-wing AISF in JNU. Having always stood for Centre-eft politics he thought AISF was the right organization for facilitating the same but later became an activist of NSUI.Dhiman has a post-graduation from Gautam Buddha University in Noida.Intrestingly he is also a follower of Buddhism.Also, Dhiman was the only man to contest the GSCASH elections in 2013 from AISF, although unsuccessfully. With high hopes to win for NSUI, his primary agenda is the defeat of RSS and its ideology. He also wants to solve the present hostel crisis.
Dileep Kumar: Students’ Front for Swaraj (SFS)
PhD student, Hindi translation (School of Languages)
Born in Jaunpur, UP, Dileep Kumar has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Allahabad University.With no previous associations with political parties or unions he fought for ensuring proper distribution of scholarships and demanding wages for karamcharis. He joined JNU as an MA student of Sanskrit in 2011, and his first political affiliation was the AAP’s student wing CYSS.With the launch of the Swaraj Abhiyan Students’ Front for Swaraj (SFS) roughly half of the CYSS JNU unit joined the SFS marking Kumar’s entry also into the party.Kumar is an outgoing councilor of the School of Languages as well as the former President of his hostel.Kumar’s main agenda for the elections is to defy the Lyngdoh Committee Recommendations and to ensure implementation of minority deprivation points among other objectives.
The JNUSU elections is going to be widely tracked by the media and the country largely owing to the incidents after February 9 event on the campus during which Anti National Slogans were raised.
The aftermath of the event could also be reflected in the sphere of Presidential Elections.