Victory on three of the four seats in PUCSC has obviously brought cheer to the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI). A closer look at the results, however, reveals a victory due to a division of votes between opposition outfits.
This year, its presidential candidate got 1,355 votes less than it secured last year, when it had won the presidential post for the first time.
The outfit gave two seats to its alliance partners Himachal Students Union (HIMSU) and National Students Organisation (NSO), a compromise it made for first time. Those spearheading NSUI’s campaigning this time were also old warhorses: those who had left SOPU last year to join the student body and lead it to its victory.
For SAD’s student wing SOI, which won no seats in these elections, chickens may have come home to roost. SOI’s involvement in several cases of violence on the campus, allegations of use of money power and the alleged highhandedness of non-political group leaders may have cost the outfit the elections.
However, while Student Organisation of India (SOI), which saw its re-launch earlier this year, may have failed to win any seats this time, it proved to be a tough opponent.
Its alliance candidates remained second for the president’s post and third for the vice-president’s and also gave a tough fight for the two other seats it was contesting. Leaders,claim this was the first time the party contested for the president’s post and say that the party has emerged as one of the main student outfits in PU this year although it has been functioning on the campus since 2006.
An old warhorse and the oldest student outfit on PU campus , Panjab University Student Union (PUSU), which won the joint secretary’s post by a narrow margin of 76 votes, contributed to the splintering of votes despite several setbacks, including many leaders leaving the organisation to join SOI.
The outfit has won a seat in the students’ council after four years. Despite having no political backing PUSU gaveNSUI and SOI a run for their money: it came at number three for the presidential post and second for the secretary’s post.
PUSU leaders admit sympathy votes due to cases filed against them and intimidation of its leaders by other student wings might also have worked in its favour.
Although it made headlines, Bharatiya Janata Party’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had little student support and knew it well. The party however, chose to fight the polls alone, a decision, they say, that was aimed at preparing its cadre “for the future”.
The outfit, which polled 919 votes for vice-president’s seat, could have seen a different outcome, had it chosen to align itself with SOI.
The biggest loss in in these polls, perhaps, was suffered by the Student Organisation of Punjab University (SOPU). Split into two parts before the beginning of the student polls, the elections saw both its factions drub.
Divjyot Sandhu , SOPU Amninder Mann group’s candidate for the post of secretary, secured only 541 votes, while the second group, led by Prabhjit Karamuwalia, which had fielded a candidate for the post of vice president’s in alliance with SOI, was defeated by 288 votes.
A surprise in these polls was the Students For Society (SFS): the firts-timer appears to have cut into the votes of several groups, marring theirprospects.
The student body, which rose to prominence for its agitations against fee hikes and is learnt to have spent less than `1,000 on its campaign for polls, for which other groups spent several lakhs, managed to secure 1,334 votes, which has affected the outcome of elections.
Another trend one saw in these elections was that student bodies with no backing of mainstream parties were also voted for, unlike last year, when Indian National Students Organisation (INSO), the student wing of Indian National Lok Dal, won the post of secretary and vice-president’s post was bagged by Disha Arora of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
Whether the influence of political parties-backed student bodies, such as NSUI and SOI, will go down due to the ressurrection non-political groups on campus, such as PUSU or SFS, or would the latter simply fade away is hard to say at this point.