After getting feedback from college principals on the issue of student polls, Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) will take a final call in this regard next week.
As the student associations are gearing up for the polls, HPU will convene a meeting of highest decision making body - executive council (EC) next week. The HPU administration has collected feedback from various college principals. Most of them are against the polls owing to different reasons. Not only violence is their concern, but many principals also observed that after implementation of Rashtriya Uchtar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA), it was difficult to conduct the elections in colleges.
“Since RUSA's implementation requires significant involvement of teachers and students to make it success, student polls can be a hurdle in the successful implementation of RUSA,” said a college principal requesting anonymity.
However, student associations have made RUSA a poll agenda across the state. After HPU's exercise on banning polls last month, student associations, Left-backed Student Federation of India and right-oriented Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in particular, have stepped up the poll campaign. While opposition to RUSA figured significantly in poll agenda, HPU is apparently making it an 'instrument' to avoid the student polls.
Confirming the exercise to take a final call on election, HPU vice-chancellor ADN Bajpai said the EC meeting would be convened to take a decision on student polls. “My priority is to provide academic-friendly atmosphere and recent incident of violence in some colleges, including one college in Shimla, is not good for academics,” Bajpai said, adding that, “I am no one to take a decision. A collective decision will be taken for the welfare of students.”
The V-C said polls can be banned for one year. “For one year student poll can be banned and after watching the reaction further steps can be taken,” he said, adding that majority of members are not in favour of conducting polls.
ABVP national secretary Ashish Chauhan said student polls should not be banned. Terming it government's ploy to divert attention from failure in the education sector, Chauhan said government and HPU have failed to provide better atmosphere and infrastructure for students and RUSA was implemented in haste. “HPU is afraid of polls since students are against its decision on implementing RUSA,” he said.
SCA general secretary Piyush Sewal said the SFI is gearing up for polls. He claimed that the SFI has been vociferously raising the RUSA issue and now HPU does not want to hold polls. “We will not let HPU ban polls as it is against the democratic setup,” he said.