Bustling with rallies and glistening with posters of various student organisations, the Panjab University (PU) campus is drenched in the colours of the upcoming PU Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) elections. Campaigning in classrooms has also picked up as student parties ranging from PUSU to NSUI are going from department to department on the campus to woo the students.
But, the situation in the PU-affiliated colleges is drastically different. Afraid to break the rules, the student parties have been following the code of conduct and door-to-door campaigning is happening only in a handful of colleges. College officials have repeatedly expressed their stand against student elections, deeming them asa mere excuse for students to indulge in hooliganism. With no banners, rallies or stickers in sight, the election-fever at most of the local colleges appears to be rather low this year.
‘Prefer to follow rules than face trouble’
While students were seen filing their nominations at DAV College, Sector 10, the atmosphere was deprived of any election-related festivities that have become a common sight on the main PU campus.
The ‘Umbrella Garden’ in the back lawns of the college might have the reputation of being the hub of campaigning but on Thursday it lacked the usual poll fervour because of which any student leader could have been mistaken for just another student of the college.
“You won’t get to see anyone raising slogans here or campaigning actively. At most, a few members of the Hindustan Student Association (HAS) visit our classrooms and share their agenda,” said Anmol, a BA second year student. Another student, Gaurav Kumar, who is an INSU supporter, said a majority of party leaders and their supporters could not afford to engage in full-fledged campaigning as the authorities had become stricter post the DAV brawl case.
“Our principal is very strict and the police say that if we can take responsibility for any violence that might break out, then we could go ahead and campaign. We cannot control such things. So, it’s better to follow the rules instead,” Kumar added.
Limited participation at GCG, 11
Not very far from DAV, Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, had a similar story to tell. The college premises lacked the typical poll fever as it was deprived of any campaigning. “It was only yesterday that a notice was put up revealing that nominations would be filed today, other than that I haven’t really witnessed candidates carrying out any campaigning,” said Priyanka, a BA final year student of the college.
'Can only do door-to-door campaigning'
The former Government College for Men (GCM), which has now become Government College, Sector 11, also lacked any poll action. Members of the ABVP party were seen addressing a group of girls to understand what issues they should be focusing on. Except for the handmade stickers on their shirts, no other element such as banners, printed stickers or coordinated clothes could be noticed to show unity for their party. “It is only today that were given permission to start our campaign officially. So, we have been going to hostels during the evening hour to address issues of outstation students. But, we cannot hold any car or bullet rallies. ,” said Sajjan Singh, president, ABVP-PUSU alliance.
He added,” One is scared to flout any rule as the security has increased and no one wants to land up in trouble. All parties are playing it safe this time,” he added.
Low key affair at Khalsa
Khalsa College, Sector 26, on Thursday also lacked any major poll-related activities. Although the college is known for being involved in campaigning more than other PU –affiliated colleges, the situation on the ground was different.
However, Puneet Rathi of microbial biotech said the situation could likely change in the coming days. “Fear of violence had kept students indoors giving the impression of elections being a low key affair. But it could be a lull before a storm, because during the previous elections, SSGS students and leaders of different student outfits had been most vociferous.”