Gay man, mother, a Kazakh join JNU poll fray

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : An interesting mix of contestants has joined the fray for various posts in the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union, attempting to give voice to their own unique experiences on campus.

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    Gunjan Priya, an M.Phil. student, contests for the post of councillor. She is hard to miss, as her daughter Shruti, who attends the play school on the campus, has been campaigning vigorously for her.

    Gunjan Priya is contesting under the banner of the Students’ Federation India (SFI). Shruti distributes material asking students to vote for her mother, and says “Laal Salaam!” at the end of her spiel.

    “I am married. For me, the mandate revolves around gender equality, and fight for the cause of married women so they get hostel facilities,” Gunjan Priya told IANS.

    Another candidate contesting under the SFI banner for the post of general secretary is Gourab Ghosh, who is part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community.

    “There is a need for the people of the JNU to accept people from the LGBT community. My mandate demands equality and end of discrimination,” Gourab Ghosh, who comes from Kolkata, told IANS.

    Akhmetbekov Zhassulan, a student from Kazakhastan, is contesting for the post of president. He talks to voters through his interpreter, Naveen Sarkar.

    A former army man with several gold medals to his credit, Zhassulan, 24, is studying for a post-graduate degree in economics, and contesting under the umbrella of the Janta Dal United (JD-U).

    At the presidential debate, he represents the cause of international students who cannot understand English.

    “Though I had the money, I ended up starving myself because I could not understand the language. There should be a mechanism to address this language barrier, so my fight is for the cause of international students,” Zhassulan told IANS.

    “Hostel is also something I will talk about, because in my initial days, I stayed in the dormitory,” Zhassulan said.

    Hostel facilities, it appears, is the one cause that unites all these candidates who otherwise represent a wide spectrum – ideologically, and also in terms of individual experiences on campus.

    The JNU Students’ Union elections are to be held Friday, Sep 13.