“At our university, we celebrate two things with fervour,” said Manu MR (24), a PhD student of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). “Holi and students' union elections.”
“We’ve been robbed of the latter,” Manu added as he melted into a crowd of 500-odd students shouting slogans of protest on Parliament Street.
Even as Delhi University (DU) gears up for polls despite blatant violations of the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations in the past, JNU — whose election model, ironically, was lauded by the Lyngdoh Committee — stands deprived of the students’ union activity.
It has been nine months since the Supreme Court put a stay on JNUSU elections.
The protest march from Mandi House to Parliament Street in Central Delhi on Wednesday was the latest attempt to revive the varsity’s political fabric.
A petition requesting reinstatement of elections was also submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office by a delegation of students.
“It’s funny how the model which was lauded by the Lyngdoh Committee is now being held guilty of violating the rules formulated by the same committee. Why doesn’t the SC go after universities like DU where candidates blatantly resort to muscle power and show of money,” said Sandeep Singh, president, JNUSU, addressing the students at Parliament Street.
Though several suggestions — such as budget cap of Rs 5,000 and use of hand made posters — are inherent in the students’ union elections here, two recommendations regarding maximum age limit (28 for research scholars) and the number of times one can contest (only once) for the post of office bearers were not followed by JNUSU.
Though students’ politics on campus is not completely dead — the last elected body has had its terms extended twice — it is definitely on at an all-time low. The recent ragging incident is also being attributed to lack of students' union activity in JNU.
“We need a union because they fight against the administration for our demands. Right now since the current office bearers are not (freshly) elected, the administration has an excuse to dismiss them,” said Ruchira Sen, an MA students of Economics.