In a lopsided affair, Students' Organisation of India (SOI), the youth wing of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), brought the two-year winning streak of National Students' Union of India (NSUI) to an end by sweeping all the four seats in the elections to the Panjab University Campus Student Council with thumping margins.
The NSUI, the student wing of Congress party, finished poor third, even behind Panjab University Students' Union (PUSU), which contested the elections in alliance with Akhil Bharatiya Janata Party (ABVP), the student wing of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
SOI contested the elections in grand alliance with Indian National Students Organisation (INSO), Himachal Students Union (HIMSU), National Students Organisation (NSO), Gandhi Group Students Union (GGSU), Youth Organisation of India (YOI) and Yuwa; while NSUI was in fray in alliance with Hindustan Students Association (HSA) and Himachal Pradesh Students Union (HPSU).
The SOI-led alliance's winners included Jasmeen Kang, who secured the post of president by a record margin of 1,436 votes. Jasmeen Kang, 24, who is a research scholar of Physics department and hails from Malout, bagged 3,731 votes, while Baljinder Singh of PUSU-ABVP was polled 2,295 and Puneet Sharma of NSUI alliance 1,922.
For the post of vice-president, the contest among women candidates and Preeti Negi of SOI-alliance outplayed her nearest rival Anjali Thakur of PUSU-ABVP by a huge margin of 1,688 votes. Negi was polled 3,777 votes, Thakur 2,089 and Gurveer Kaur of NSUI 1,712. Negi, who is from HIMSU, secured even more votes than the presidential candidate of her alliance.
Rishi Bhardwaj of SOI alliance with 3,256 votes was elected as secretary. He defeated his nearest rival by a margin of 945 votes. Swati Tiwana of the same alliance with 3,077 votes was elected as joint secretary and her winning margin was 993 votes.
The polling started at 9.30am and the counting was over by around 6pm. But the SOI supporters had started celebrating much earlier, as they maintained the lead throughout.
A total of 117 departmental representatives were also elected and the executive members of the council were chosen after the results were declared.
Upbeat mood on campus
The jubilation and revelry started much before the verdict was announced officially and SOI supporters danced to the beats of dhol and distributed sweets at the Students' Centre. Jasmeen Kang attributed the victory to his seniors. When DSW Prof Navdeep Goyal announced the results at Students' Centre, green paper frills were thrown from the coffee house. A victory rally was also carried out through the campus. Digvijay Chautala, national president of INSO was present on the occasion. "Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal will felicitate the winners when they assume the office," said Parambans Singh Bunty Romana, national convenor of the SOI.
Election made several records
SOI has won the elections on campus for the first time. The victory margin for the president's post has been 1,436 votes, which is highest ever. It is also for the first time that a student of Physics department has been chosen as the president and also for any other seat to the council.
Also, it is for the first time that two girls are elected to the panel. The girls constitute 70% of total students on campus.
It is also for the first time that a tribal girl (Preeti Negi) has got elected to the council.
Honour Board for president's post
2010:PUSU and allies
2011: SOPU and allies
2012: SOPU and allies
2013: NSUI and allies
2014: NSUI and allies
2015: SOI and allies
Total number of votes:
Total voters: 14,000 (approx)
Votes cast: 8,131
Highest winning margin: 1,688 for vice-president's post
Lowest winning margin: 945 votes for secretary's post
Number of women contestants: 6
Women elected: 2
1.President: Jasmeen Kang
"I will work for transparency, infrastructure improvement, solar panels for hostels, reading room in hostels and improve students' involvement with council."
2. Vice-president: Preeti Negi
Votes polled: 3,777
"I will work for girls' safety, more CCTV cameras on campus, deployment of women security personnel and increase in frequency of bus shuttle service."
3. Secretary: Rishi Bhardwaj
Votes polled: 3,256
Winning margin: 945
"I will work for improvement in placements of students from different departments, improving health infrastructure and girls' safety."
4. Joint secretary: Swati Tiwana
Votes polled: 3,077
Winning margin: 993
"I will work for getting more hostels for girls, deployment of women security personnel and hygiene issues concerning canteens and hostel kitchens."