Former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) vice-president Shehla Rashid is set to join ex-IAS officer Shah Faesal's party and may even contest Lok Sabha elections from Srinagar constituency. Shehla's move to join active politics ahead of the elections may be an indication of her getting a ticket from the prestigious Srinagar constituency.
Top party officials told The Print that Shehla has been working in close coordination with Faesal and will soon be overseeing party functioning. Both Shehla and Faesal are, however, tightlipped over the reports.
The young political leaders were earlier rumoured to be joining former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's National Conference. But Shah Faesal, who is the only IAS topper from the state, dispelled the speculations joining any existent mainstream political party in J&K.
Shehla, on the other hand, has been a vocal critic of the BJP-led government and right-wing organisations such as the RSS and Bajrang Dal. Despite her joining hands with leftist students' wings of JNU, Shehla did not join any of these parties formally over the past few years.
Shehla Rashid's journey- From an engineering graduate to youth leader
The 31-year-old was born to become an activist as was evident when she bid goodbye to her engineering career after graduating from National Institute of Technology, Srinagar and opted to study international relations and politics.
She rose to fame during the JNU students elections in 2015 during which she defeated BJP-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidhya Parishad (ABVP) candidate to become the JNU vice-president. The first Kashmiri woman to emerge as a student leader on the national front, Shehla Rashid has been instrumental in fighting for various student causes in India including the University Grants Fellowship as well increase in the graduate student stipends in the country.
She was also a part of the controversy along with fellow students Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid when the sedition charges were slapped on them following an event in JNU campus where anti-national slogans were raised. Shehla organised student protests in the varsity as well as the national capital in support of her colleagues and became a prominent youth voice.
Shehla has also been a strong supporter of human rights causes in Kashmir and often speaks in favour of the rights of the valley women. Her family hails from Haba Kadal area of downtown Srinagar city and has a known political backround.