With the Lyngdoh committee’s prescribed code of conduct coming into effect at the Rajasthan University ahead of the student union elections due on August 22, aspirants and party workers are finding it difficult to maintain their election budget under Rs 5,000.
“If volunteers give proper support, only then can one fight for elections with such a meagre budget. We have to mobilise students at least one month before the elections. A single day rent for an SUV costs around Rs 2,500, and then there is electricity rent and other expenses on a daily basis. How are we supposed to cover it under Rs 5,000?” asked Abhishek Meena, a presidential hopeful from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
“We respect the Lyngdoh committee and we will stick by it. But the Rs 5,000 slab is highly unreal in these times,” said Satbir Chaudhary, a president aspirant from National Student’s Union of India (NSUI).
The Lyngdoh committee’s set of recommendations for student elections in colleges was accepted and implemented by the Supreme Court in 2006. The committee’s recommendation set to cleanse university and college student elections from criminalisation and politicisation contained various guidelines, including a maximum budget of Rs 5,000 for candidates. Although a majority of student leaders depend on social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp to campaign, mobilising students at various colleges is also an essential element of campaigning.
“I think the limit is not at all feasible for contesting elections. If the slab for Lok Sabha or state elections can be upgraded, then why not for student elections? We are finding it extremely difficult to manage our budget under Rs 5,000,” said Dron Yadav, an NSUI presidential hopeful.
“It is a decision implemented by the honourable Supreme Court and not the university. While we sympathise with the students, there is nothing we can do about it,” said LN Sharma, dean, Student Welfare Board.
However, the university administration has offered a ‘solution’ to aspirants for the political campaigning during the code of conduct tenure.
“This year, our slogan is a ‘free and fair election’. And in accordance with the Lyngdoh committee, we have come up with a unique initiative for the benefit of student leaders. We are offering space on our website for them to propagate,” said Bhupendra Singh Shekhawat, Public Relations Officer, RU.