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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Inclusion of NOTA in annual polls splits teachers’ body

Surender Sharma , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, April 14, 2014
First Published: 09:12 IST(14/4/2014) | Last Updated: 09:12 IST(14/4/2014)

While the recently held state assembly elections and the ongoing parliamentary polls may have given voters the right to reject all candidates, NOTA (“none of the above option”) has left the Panjab University Teachers Association ( P U TA ) a divided house. While a section of the teachers want the option to be included in the annual teachers’ body elections, thePanjab University Teachers Association executive committee has rejected the suggestion. It is hence not among the matters listed for the general body meeting scheduled for April 17.

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Association president Devinder Singh said a subcommittee set up by PUTA had earlier decided many issues, including giving one more seat in the body to teachers with the background of professional courses, giving librarians and programmers membership in the association and increasing its tenure from one year to two years would be discussed at the meeting.

The association has nearly 650 members.

“The NOTA issue was not included because a subcommittee headed by Keshav Malhotra decided not to take it up at the meeting,” said Singh, adding the matter could be brought up at the meeting if anyone wanted a debate on the issue.

Meanwhile, those opposing the proposal argue Panjab University Teachers Association does not have the requisite financial and executive powers, adding it was, more importantly, a body in which all teachers had an equal say.

“If someone doesn’t like a particular candidate, he can contest the polls himself. So why have the NOTA option?” said former PUTA chief Akshaya Kumar.

Those in favour of NOTA, on the other hand, say they would campaign for the issue and ensure it was taken up at the general body meeting. “We had approached the the association to include the matter in the agenda of the meeting. . If it is not listed, we’ll take it up,” said Ranjan Kumar, an associate professor of physics who had backed the decision to deny Panjab University Teachers Association membership to librarians and programmers last year.

This will be the first general body meeting held after Devinder Singh was elected Panjab University Teachers Association president in September last year by defeating Akshay Kumar and Khaled Mohammed.

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