As many as 14,323 students will decide the fate of 21 candidates for the posts of president, vice-president, secretary and joint secretary at the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) polls that start at 9:45am on Friday, in a high-security environment with police deployed in numbers.
There are mainly four alliances in the contest with candidates from three other parties also trying their luck.
The main contest is being seen between the National Students’ Union of India (alliance), the Student Organisation of India (SOI) alliance and Panjab University Student Union (PUSU) alliance.
NSUI is fighting to retain power after its 2013 performance when it bagged the president and the joint secretary’s post, the SOI, in alliance with other smaller groups, is trying to establish its foothold on campus.
Among the two old warhorses on campus, the Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) and the Panjab University Student Union (PUSU), the former has got divided into two parts SOPU (Mann group) and SOPU (Karamuwalia group) and each group is fighting for only one post.
PUSU however, has been able to regroup its flock after some leaders joined the SOI in February. The PUSU is being seen as third main contender.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is fighting alone on all seats.
The Students for Society (SFS), in its electoral debut, is fighting for the post of president with the only woman candidate among contestants. Barring incidents of violence during the pre-poll period since the start of academic session, the post model code of conduct period has been largely peaceful. Incidents of violations also came down.
A first, and freebies dominated
It was the first election, in which the university decided to issue tents in the name of candidates. It was also decided that expenses on rallies and tents would be added to the candidate’s expenses. However, the campaign period also saw parties indulging in freebies from free trips to hill stations, discotheques nights and fresher parties among others. Alleged involvement of political parties and huge funding has been attributed to almost all parties.
THE CRITICAL CONTEST
The main contest is between SOI, PUSU and NSUI alliances. With NSUI and SOI fielding presidential candidates from the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), which has the largest number of voters at 2,545, votes could get split here. PUSU is considered strong in sciences departments and has also fielded its candidate from bio-medical sciences. So, leaders claim that voters of department of law and UILS with 2,300 votes will be the key.