The Panjab University campus witnessed its last excitement for this season's elections as SOPU (Students Organisation of Panjab University) was declared winner with a huge majority. SOPU and PUSU (Panjab University Students Union) have been the most noticeably close competitors in the history of the university's student politics.
However, SOPU has steadily gained ground in the past few years. What led to its rise? And where is PUSU going wrong?
HT City attempts to find the missing piece of the puzzle as it seeks answers from former student leaders of the two parties who made an impact in their times.
DPS Randhawa, founded SOPU in 1997
"It's the work culture that was adopted a long time ago that has made our party famous till date. At the end of the day, it's the hard work put in by the party that helps it win time and again. Passing on the legacy to the juniors and the seniors' guidance are two important factors that play a key role."
Dalvir Singh Goldy, SOPU, former president of PUSC (2007-2008)
"We think of our party as a family and stay together as a group. The party's work is a joint effort, as all former leaders stay connected to it even after passing out. Call it my duty or concern, I have always come to the party's aid during elections to provide guidance to our juniors. Also, since girls are the majority voters in the university, we make sure that our contestant for the president's post has a charming personality that impresses them."
Brinder Dhillon, president, SOPU (2008 and 2009)
"It's not a week's matter, but hard work of an entire year that bears results. Voters are not dumb and know who to vote for. I agree that PUSU also worked hard, but we perhaps got lucky again."
Jaskaran Singh Brar, founded PUSU in 1977
"Alliances change the entire picture. Also, former SOPU leaders campaign openly for their party and we don't as it's against the rules. The authorities also support them and have always been against PUSU. Nowadays, open rallies, speeches, and open house debates do not take place. So, the contesting candidates cannot put their points forward."
Udey Warring, former president, PUSU (2010-2011)
"SOPU had a weak front this time and didn't even have a deserving candidate. Earlier, we used to face tough competition, but this time it could have been very easy to win. However, our lack of unity went against us. Participation of all the representatives is important for any party that should have a united team. But our's is riddled with internal rifts. Also, the support of former leaders boosts the current members' morale."
Amandeep Singh, PUSU, and the president of PUSC (2005-2006)
"PUSU is a 35-year-old party that has its positive and negative aspects. Because of a generation gap, the new leaders do not relate with their seniors. Also, there is a lot of 'groupism', so while previously, parties used to win on the basis of student activism, they now rely
heavily on alliances that are sometimes deal clinchers."