The race for the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student union president’s post officially started on Thursday as the candidates discussed their agendas.
Eight candidates, including an independent candidate from Kazakhstan, are contesting the election for the president’s post this year and a common issue was adequate hostel facilities.
A number of students are forced to look for accommodation outside the university as there aren’t adequate rooms for them.
A relatively new demand of setting up a placement cell for students, especially those from the science courses, came from the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad (ABVP).
“Students from the school of languages and sciences require engagement from the industry so that they get jobs. The current system is not facilitating the career of students. There is no understanding about what the students want,” said Pran Veer Singh, the candidate from NSUI.
The All India Students Federation (AISF) parted ways with the Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF) after contesting the polls jointly last year.
Alleging complete inaction on the part of the current union, AISF candidate Amrita Kumari said that the culture of debate and discussion was completely missing from the university and it was very important for the students to be politically aware.
Chandrasen, the presidential candidate from a group called the Concerned Students, raised the issues of minority students.
“The present left parties on campus are Brahmanical and feminism bourgeoisie. There are no voices against the rape of a dalit girl in Jind or any protests against Asaram. The nomination process is not easy for physically handicapped students at all,” he said.
As usual, national issues were also part of the agendas.
Talking about the need to look at the elections with the prism of the 2014 general elections, the candidate from the Democratic Students’ Federation, Ishan Anand, said that national politics had an impact on JNU students as well.
“The country needed to move beyond Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi and look at alternative policies for development, which will also affect the education sector. We had five members, including the president, in JNUSU last year and they had fought for students with some degree of success,” Anand said.