ABVP plans to make in­roads in Ker­ala

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - Sm­riti Kak Ra­machan­dran let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com


Step­ping up its of­fen­sive against Ker­ala’s Left gov­ern­ment, the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh (RSS) is push­ing its stu­dents’ wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vid­yarthi Par­ishad (ABVP), to the front lines of its cam­paign in the state.

The ABVP has called for a rally in Thiruvananthapuram on Novem­ber 11 to high­light the at­tacks on the right-wing cadre in the coastal state, al­legedly by their left-wing coun­ter­parts.

Equat­ing ‘Marx­ism with ter­ror­ism and anti-na­tion­al­ism’ is a leit­mo­tif of the rally, which the right-wing out­fit hopes would be at­tended by stu­dents from across the coun­try, in­clud­ing those who do not subscribe to the ABVP ide­ol­ogy.

ABVP is fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of the BJP and the RSS by high­light­ing the al­leged vi­o­lence by Left cadres in the state and of­fer­ing it­self as an al­ter­na­tive to other stu­dent bod­ies.

In the last year’s state elec­tion, af­ter the BJP won its first ever seat in Ker­ala assem­bly, at­trib­uted largely to the ground­work of the RSS cadre, the ABVP too saw a change in its for­tune on col­lege cam­puses; par­tic­u­larly in the north­ern part of Kan­nur, which has been a hot­bed of left­right wing clashes.

Af­ter a decade of no-show, the ABVP won 11 of the 16 seats in the Kan­nur Univer­sity union elec­tions.

De­spite these elec­toral gains, the or­gan­i­sa­tion does not have the same fol­low­ing has left-wing stu­dent bod­ies do, which is per­haps a rea­son why the ABVP is bank­ing on stu­dents from other states to lend sup­port to its show of strength.

“Our mem­ber­ship is grow­ing...we will soon have over one lakh mem­bers in the state. We are fight­ing for the ‘pride of Ker­ala’ and even those stu­dents who were not af­fil­i­ated to any fac­tion are will­ing to join us,” said Ash­win Rad­hakr­ish­nan, the joint or­gans­ing sec­re­tary of the ABVP in Ker­ala.

As the RSS sets about ex­pand­ing its foot­print across the coun- try, es­pe­cially in re­gions where its ide­ol­ogy faces un­bend­ing op­po­si­tion, it has charted a course for the stu­dent’s wing to sup­ple­ment its ef­forts by break­ing into the strong­hold of the Left, the academe.

Con­certed drives, rid­ing on the theme of na­tion­al­ism are be­ing planned in states where the ABVP has a lim­ited pres­ence, such as Tamil Nadu, and in the north-east­ern re­gion. Plans are also afoot to woo stu­dents in the poll-bound Tripura where ABVP 27 seats in the stu­dent coun­cil for the first time and in West Ben­gal.

“ABVP’s strength has crosses 5 lakh in Kar­nataka. We have at least over two lakh mem­bers in Ut­tar Pradesh, and lit­tle over a lakh in Andhra Pradesh, Te­lan­gana, Delhi and Ma­ha­rash­tra,” said or­gan­i­sa­tions me­dia con­vener Saket Bahuguna.

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