After years of demonstrations and protests, students finally cast their votes for the election of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) on Thursday.
According to estimates by parties, close to 4,500 students out of 6,700 cast their votes in the elections, which were held after four years.
Official figures, however, were not available at the time of going to press. “All the votes are counted manually, so the final figure will be released only on Friday,” said a senior JNU official.
The debates held on Tuesday night added to the election fervour on campus.
“We have missed this excitement. Unlike other student union election debates, the one at JNU is informative and enjoyable, where people talk about issues and not trivialities. It was the debate that prompted me to cast my vote,” said Mahima Nath, a PhD student at JNU.
Votes were cast for the posts of councillor of each JNU school and also for posts of president, vice-president, general secretary and joint secretary. The results are expected to be out by Saturday.
“We don’t have electronic voting machines at JNU, so it takes some time to count the votes and declare results. We have to be patient,” said Roshan Kishore, president, Students’ Federation of India, JNU.
The Supreme Court had suspended the JNUSU elections in 2008, citing violations of the Lyngdoh Committee’s recommendations on polls for student unions in educational institutions.
Student parties had thoroughly criticised the action on the basis that Lyngdoh Committee recommendations were unworkable at JNU.
On December 8 last year, the apex court revoked the stay and relaxed the norms on the candidates’ eligibility and campaign.
But even as the students voted, many were against the committee recommendations.
“I am voting because JNU has gone for too long without a student body, but that does not mean I support the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations. They are undemocratic. That is a sentiment shared by most of my classmates and colleagues,” said Anamika De, a post graduate student.