NEW DELHI -- Since Kanhaiya Kumar made his fiery speech on March 3, political parties have been lining up to stake claim to his ideology, his oratory skills, and even his signature catchword.
The PhD student transformed into a national hero after delivering an electrifying speech about his idea of nationalism, while mocking the Modi government for slapping him with a charge of sedition.
While he is facing rustication from Jawaharlal Nehru University, political parties in poll bound states are calling dibs on him for their election campaigns.
Even as the Congress Party in Guwahati is plastering posters which show Kumar behind bars, an alliance of six Left Parties claim that the JNU student is campaigning for them in the Assam State Assembly Election.
"We have got in touch with Kanhaiya, he is likely to campaign for Left parties in Assam. It is good that Congress stood by Kanhaiya and is using his picture to depict the NDA government's high handedness but Congress must not forget that it to had imposed Emergency which gagged free speech," Suprakash Talukdar, a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), told The Economic Times.
After Kumar's speech, Sitaram Yechury, senior CPI (M) leader, called first dibs for all five poll-bound states. "He is a Left activist. As a Left activist, he will naturally campaign," Yechury said.
The states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry are heading to the polls over the next few months.
D Raja, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India, said that Kanhaiya would campaign for his party.
"There is a demand for Kanhaiya to campaign in different parts of the country. As a student activist and a political activist he is likely to campaign for us. We will have to see how it works out," he said.
Instead of plunging him directly into electoral politics, CPI reportedly wants to use him as a "force multiplier."
While Aam Aadmi Party leaders including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal have appropriated Kumar's favorite catchphrase, the Delhi government had decided to start a new advertisement campaign with 'azadi' as its theme.
हम क्या माँगते- आज़ादी
LG के हस्तक्षेप से आज़ादी।
केंद्र के हस्तक्षेप से आज़ादी।
जनता को निर्णय लेने की आज़ादी
राजनैतिक अहंकार से आज़ादी।
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 4, 2016
हम लेके आये है आज़ादी pic.twitter.com/WP4QJcw6y3
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishraAAP) March 14, 2016
Responding to speculation about pursuing a political career, Kumar has previously said that he is a student, who wants to become a teacher.
“I want to question as a student and I will like to answer as a teacher in the future. So, the question about my political ambitions should be kept aside,” he said.
With two other JNU students still in jail in a sedition case, Kumar has said that he doesn't have the time to travel for campaigning. . "There is so much to do for the students that it is unlikely for me to take that much time to travel for campaigning," he said.
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