Though various student bodies spent lakhs on campaigns for the recent student council elections of Panjab University (PU), the expenditure details prepared by the National Students Union of India (NSUI) Alliance candidate and now Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) president Divyanshu Budhiraja reveal that he spent merely Rs 4,350 for the elections.
The details prepared by the NSUI alliance reveal that the vice-presidential candidate Snigdha Bawa spent Rs 4,400, more than the expenditure of the president.
This holds true for the alliance’s secretarial candidate Ankur Sehrawat, who spent Rs 4,450. NSUI media incharge Manoj Lubana said, “We have prepared the expenditure details, which will be submitted to the Dean Student Welfare office on Tuesday. The details include all spending on rallies, tents and posters, which have been divided among all alliance candidates.”
The expenditure details are to be submitted to the dean student welfare Navdeep Goyal, who was the returning officer for the elections. Other parties are also yet to submit their expenditure details. Leaders of Student Organisation of India (SOI), Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU) and Students for Society (SFS), when contacted, said they were yet to prepare details of the expenditure of their candidates.
Nishant Maini, grandson of senator GK Chatrath, who could not withdraw his candidature, is the only candidate who has submitted his expenditure details to the university. He has shown that he did not spend even a single rupee for the election.
Last week, the report on the candidates’ election expenditure prepared by the ten observers said the highest spenders were the candidates of NSUI alliance at `17,680 followed by SOI alliance candidates at Rs 17,360.
According to the report, the third major spenders were PUSU alliance candidates at Rs 16,760, followed by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at Rs 11,230 and Students for Society (SFS) candidates at Rs 740.
The report did not reveal the candidates’ individual expenditure details.
However, there have been police reports published in the media that student bodies allegedly splurged lakhs of rupees on trips to hill stations, visits to movie halls, parties at clubs, coupons to saloons, in an effort to woo voters.
The police had also provided details of a Sector 34-based bus operator, who took students on trips to Kasauli and Shimla. Details of incidents where free liquor was distributed during parties arranged by different student bodies in city clubs was also provided by the police.
In the light of these media reports, the claims of the candidates and the report of the observers put a question mark on the extent of the implementation of the Lyngdoh guidelines for student council polls, which state that a candidate can spend only up to Rs 5,000 on campaigns.