For students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), topics revolving around inter national and national policies have been vital to student union election debates for many years.
But, in the last two elections, campus issues have started taking centre stage.
From a JNU student’s point of view, the lack of hostel facilities in the residential campus is the most important issue that the students’ union and university need to address.
A new demand this year is the release of the report filed by a committee set up to suggest means to tackle gender violence on campus.
The university authorities had set up the committee to look into the safety of women after a student attacked his classmate and committed suicide recently.
“A large number of students want to know what are the suggestions that the committee has made to combat gender violence,” said Lenin, president, JNU Students’ Union.
All student parties have included the issue of women’s safety on campus in their election manifestoes.
“While no one can deny that JNU is a campus where students are politicised, it is also true that there are a number of issues that exist on the campus which need to be addressed. We have to tackle the problems in our own campus before we look at the problems in the country,” said Himanshu Jha, an M.Phil student at JNU.
During the school general body meetings, where each party introduced their candidates for councillors, hostels and marks allotted to the viva voce were among the top worries for students.
The student parties will hold the university general body meeting on Tuesday afternoon, where the candidates for the posts of vice president, secretary and joint secretary will interact with students and put forth their plans if they are elected.
“I support the fact that parties are now talking about campus issues more than national and international issues. The shortage of hostels is a big problem. While I believe it is very important to discuss the implications of war against Syria, I also think student elections are won on the basis of student issues,” said Mahika Singh, an MA student.
The final presidential debate for the student union elections will be held on Wednesday night.