Resignation of ABVP office-bearers: Face saving exercise, pressure from faculty or genuine change of heart?

By Shishir Tripathi

On Wednesday evening, as news started coming in that Delhi police has said that they would not contest the bail plea of JNUSU student president Kanhaiya Kumar, self-doubt was clear on the face of many ABVP activists.

Within an hour of this news and at the backdrop of massive protest gathering at administrative block in JNU campus, demanding the release of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, three activists of the ABVP unit of JNU resigned from their respective posts. Those who resigned included Pradeep, Joint Secretary, ABVP JNU Unit, Rahul Yadav, President, school of social sciences (SSS) ABVP unit and Ankit Hans, Secretary SSS , ABVP unit. The letter announcing the resignation posted on their Facebook page stated that they are disassociating themselves from any further activity of ABVP. The reason is 'difference of opinion' on the 'current JNU incident' among other issues. Criticising the centre for “unleashing oppression on the student community” and adding that they cannot be the “mouthpiece of such a government” they resigned from the post.

What is interesting is that change of heart among the ABVP cadres came quickly after the news of Kanhaiya's probable release started coming in. Adding to the fact that the ABVP was losing the fight was a massive gathering at administrative block demanding the JNUSU leader release.

One of the ABVP leaders of the campus, while talking to Firstpost, said that Kanhaiya's release will leave them red faced. “Almost after a week the incident took place, ABVP has woken up to the mishandling of the case. They are doing all this just to save their face, nothing else”, said another JNU student.

Resignation of ABVP office-bearers: Face saving exercise, pressure from faculty or genuine change of heart?

A protest at JNU. Tarique Anwar/Firstpost

However, while many think that it is a realisation of a mistake that propelled the ABVP office bearers to resign, current ABVP office bearers think that they have done it under pressure.

Tara Shankar a JNU scholar says, “I think a lot of students start following an ideology without having proper understanding what that ideology stands for. I think these three ABVP office bearer who resigned did so because they realised that they are following a wrong ideology”.

Pradeep who resigned from the post of general secretary on 10 February had clearly criticised the 9 February incident and continues to do so even now. In a post on 9 February, he had written 'last night’s slogans of pseudo-leftists .....bharat tere tukadde honge, inshaallah......hahahaha......... kyon allah ko bhi apne satth badnam karte hoo bhai........”

The letter posted on Facebook further stated “Anti-national slogans on 9 February in the university campus were very unfortunate and heart breaking. Whosoever responsible for that act must be punished as per the law. But the way the NDA government is tackling the whole issue, the oppression on professors, repeated attacks by lawyers on the media and on Kanhaiya kumar in court premises is unjustifiable and we think there is a difference between interrogation and crushing ideology and branding the entire left as anti-national”

This hints at the discontent among the students at the improper handling of entire JNU issue.

However Alok Singh, president of ABVP JNUSU unit rejects ‘difference of opinion’ theory . He says “ To decentralise our party work, we had appointed many students at different schools in the university. In that course, Rahul and Ankit were delegated the work of the party at the school of social sciences. They were never active in the party activities and hardly attended any meetings.

He added, “They never expressed any dissatisfaction with the party work. I am sure that they have done this under pressure from their teachers at SSS.”

Sourabh Sharma, general secretary JNUSU who won the election on ABVP ticket echoes the same view. “They have resigned under the pressure of teachers from SSS. Most of the teachers at SSS are leftist and I think that they have pressurised the students to do so and the three students naturally gave preference to their career, which is normal. However, we still consider them as part of our party and will talk to them and will try to gauge the actual reason of their resignation”

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Updated Date: Feb 18, 2016 15:08:40 IST

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