One party, one leader and one face — that’s how Panjab University elections work, right?
Wrong. One stand-alone leader seems passé now, going by the latest trend of numerous faces of multiple parties reaching out to students via multiple colourful posters.
And hence, the invention of multiple posts such as chairman, party president, campus president, all-college chairman, campus in-charge, besides of course, the president. The reason, as we discover, could be anywhere from the president’s insecurity of being replaced to using these posts as bait to keep the party hale and hearty.
HT City does some digging…
Having closely witnessed student elections for the past decade now, Harman Bajwa, a Youth Congress leader, says, “When student leaders love their posts so much that they don’t want to let go, such posts come into existence. According to me, there should only be one leader, so that there’s no confusion for voters.”
Bajwa also throws light on the fact that another reason for the creation of such posts is the absence of student elections in Punjab.
“Had student elections been a regular feature throughout Punjab, students’ energy would have been utilised there. As a result, student elections at PU wouldn’t turn as dirty. A section of the crowd from the region comes here only to fulfill the desire of contesting elections,” adds Bajwa.
Expressing unhappiness, PUSU leader, Simranjit Singh Dhillon, says, “In 2009, I was the only president, without any other posts to ‘back me up’. Of late, the trend has changed, which is acting only to parties’ disadvantage. These posts are created only to keep a few people happy; sometimes, they are created to make some people just stay in the party. Such people are not trustworthy; they can leave the party randomly. A true party worker, who has worked day and night for the party, remains loyal.”
Current PUSU president, Yadwinder Singh Dhaliwal says too many cooks definitely spoil the broth. “A leader should be the one who gains the trust of his people and stands proud as the face of his party. I agree that the burden gets distributed by having multiple leaders, but you hardly get experienced leaders to become party faces. So, instead of spoiling the picture, it’s always better to have one leader,” says he.
On the contrary, All India secretary, NSUI, Jaswinder Singh Jassi, says, “Earlier, students weren’t aware about the elections and the workings of a party. Now that they are aware, they want to be highlighted. A student is a party worker only till his first or second year. Later, everyone just wants recognition in the form of a post. But, these posts also have a positive — when someone has been designated a post, he or she will have certain responsibility on their shoulders, and would end up working more. There is a steep rise in the output as well. Moreover, the workload also gets divided. Each person’s duty is well defined.”
On the condition of anonymity, a senior SOPU leader shares, “The whole game is about having your photograph on the poster. Thanks to this craze and desire of showing off, the trend has picked up.”