Youth for Equality, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Monday, January 29, 2007

Law student takes on Cong over quota

Surendra Gangan Sunday, January 28, 2007 23:28 IST

Sanjeet Shukla during a rally in Matunga on Sunday

Sanjeet Shukla, a 23-year-old law student of Mithibai College and the sole candidate fielded by Youth For Equality (YFE) — a student organisation formed to oppose reservation in education — has become a hit with Sion voters.

About 250 students and faculty from several engineering and medical colleges across the city, including GS Medical and KJ Somaiya Engineering colleges, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Jawaharlal Nehru University from New Delhi, campaigned for the Sion resident on Sunday.

“If the government thinks it can divide the student vote to increase its votebank through reservation, it is mistaken,” says Dr Kumar Harsha, president of the Resident Doctors Association at AIIMS. “We want to send a strong message that they cannot separate students.” Dr Harsha and 20 AIIMS students and professors were in the city on Sunday to support
Shukla’s candidature.

“Sanjeet has been getting a positive response from residents of Ward 167, some of whom are even urging their neighbours to vote for him,” says Dr Gunjan Sharma, YFE spokesperson. Shukla’s popularity has the Congress worried. The party has decided to sideline its incumbent councillor, Babubhai Bhawanji, by fielding Upendra Doshi, general secretary of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee, to take on Shukla. While campaigning, Shukla takes pain to drive home the message that YFE is not against reservation. “The organisation wants reservations to be based solely on the student’s economic background,” he says.

Mahendra Kedia, a third-year medical student with GS Medical College, says, “Though issues like reservation and discrimination are not directly related on the BMC level, it is a launch pad for YFE, which wants to field candidates for parliamentary elections.”

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