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How AAP, Congress are milking the FTII issue but not really helping students

Somi Das | Updated on: 19 August 2015, 18:04 IST

There are many battles being fought on the FTII campus. Some academic, others political. While students have been striking for 70 days now, got arrested and have FIR filed against them -- all for not agreeing to accept Gajendra Chouhan as their chairperson, some political parities are cashing in on the issue to the hilt.

Aam Aadmi Party led by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been trying to project itself as the messiah of the students' cause.

Kejriwal met a delegation of FTII students in the national capital earlier this month. Ever since he and his party has been using FTII issue to target the BJP. AAP's Pune unit has been active in joining the student's protest. They have been shouting slogans against the midnight crackdown on students.


AAP workers protesting against the midnight arrest of five FTII students. Photo: Twitter

To top it all Kejriwal threw open the doors of the national capital for the students asking them to temporarily shift to Delhi and continue their classes. Without even clearly understanding that such an arrangement is practically impossible to carry out and doesn't really help the students, Kejriwal tried scoring some brownie points.

Similarly, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi continues to show his concern. Condemning police action on students he tweeted, "Protesting #FTII students arrested in #midnightcrackdown.Our students are not criminals Modiji.Silence.Suspend.Arrest:ModiMantra for AcheDin".

Congress party workers too have been protesting in front of the cameras. Former Chief Ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan along with activists of the Congress student wing, the National Students Union of India (NSUI) have gheraoed Mantralaya to protest against the arrest of the FTII students.

On 1 August, Gandhi had visited FTII campus and held a one-on-one conversation with the students. During his interaction, he used the FTII impasse to target RSS and BJP. He said, "RSS encourages mediocrity in educational institutions." Again another political brownie point scored.

Next, he promised students that he raised the issue in Parliament during the monsoon session. But that didn't happen either. The Congress didn't let the Parliament function over the issue of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj's resignation for her involvement in helping scam-tainted IPL founder Lalit Modi's acquire his travel papers.

Indeed, BJP's stubborn and highhanded handling of the situation has left ample political opportunity for the opposition to cash in on. But some hyperbolic assurances and photo-ops apart, political parties' jumping into the cause hasn't exactly helped FTII students.

First published: 19 August 2015, 17:45 IST
Somi Das @Somi_Das

Somi brings with her the diverse experience of working in a hard news environment with ample exposure to long-form journalism to Catch. She has worked with Yahoo! News, India Legal and Newslaundry. As the Assistant Editor of Catch Live, she intends to bring quality, speed and accuracy to the table. She has a PGD in Print and TV journalism from YMCA, New Delhi, and is a lifelong student of Political Science.