Were it not for the seriousness of the matter, it would be hard not to view the free trips organized by various outfits ahead of the student council elections as one big joke. Even as different groups continue to splurge on junkets to hill stations and all-expenses-paid visits to movie theatres and discotheques, observers appointed by Panjab University said all poll candidates put together have not spent more than Rs 40,000 on campaigning so far.
According to the preliminary reports submitted by the ten observers, candidates of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) alliance had spent the highest amount — about Rs 13,000 —till Wednesday for the poll campaign, sources said. Campaign expenditure includes money spent on tents, rallies, stickers and balloons.
The reports were discussed at a meeting held between the observers and PU dean of students welfare Navdeep Goyal late on Wednesday evening. The varsity administration appointed observers to check misuse of election campaign funds by student bodies for the first time.
The second biggest spender, according to the observers, was the Student Organization of India (SOI) alliance that incurred an expenditure of Rs 12,000 till date followed up by the Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) alliance (Rs 7,500) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (Rs 5,000).
The lowest campaign expenditure was that of the Students For Society (SFS) candidate, Amandeep Kaur, the only woman in the fray, at Rs 800, the sources added.
All these figures are of the student bodies’ panels’ expenditure incurred since last Saturday, when the candidates were announced. There are four candidates in each panel and, if one goes by the upper limit for each alliance, the total expenditure incurred by each alliance is expected to reach Rs 20,000.
When contacted Goyal said the final figures on campaign expenditure hat yet to be compiled.
According to the Lyngdoh panel’s guidelines for student council polls, a candidate can only spend up to Rs 5,000 for campaigning.