The Panjab University Student Council elected for the 2013-14 academic session had got off to a bumpy start with four members representing three different student groups winning the top posts. Two of them, including that of the president, had gone to the National Students Union of India (NSUI), which had been accused of using unfair means to corner them.
However, following the elections, the council members appeared to be working in tandem, though they were find ing it tough to keep the unrealistic promises made by the candidates during campaigning.
Post elections, most of them had remained inactive as they lacked political acumen and leadership qualities. The reason being cited is the one who were elected were “dummy” candidates. Their importance became limited and other prominent party faces again came to the forefront to lead their groups. Senior party leaders blame the trend in student council elections on the Lyngdoh commission due to which students with 80 percent attendance and a criminal past cannot participate in the polls. Most student leaders fail on these parameters. Hence the parties fielded dummy candidates.
Among others, the major embarrassment for the student council was the PU proposal on hiking tuition fees. The council members had not objected to the proposal despite the PU administration consulting them before sending it to syndicate and senate. However, as some student groups objected to the hike and even ran a campaign against it, the PU had to lower proposed tuition and hostel fees. “This council was no exception since the time Lyngdoh panel’s recommendations have come into force. Rather than council members, power resided with students’ parties’ leaders and many of the council members also appeared disinterested, except one,” said a top official who deals with student affairs.
Khaled Mohammed, a political science professor at PU, said over the years the student council was proving to be not so productive.