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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

PU officials want polls early next month

HT Correspondent  Chandigarh, August 21, 2014
First Published: 10:04 IST(21/8/2014) | Last Updated: 10:12 IST(21/8/2014)

Despite controversies surrounding the student council elections, Panjab University has written to the UT administration conveying its intent to hold the student council elections at the varsity and its affiliated colleges “at the earliest”. The move comes days after vice chancellor AK Grover first met leaders of various student groups, followed by a meeting with principals of city colleges earlier this month.

Grover confirmed he had written to the administration over holding the elections as soon as possible. According to sources, he had also incorporated the principals’ concerns about law and order problems on college campuses during elections.

“I’ve told them about the deliberations at various meetings that were held with various stakeholders and requested them to conduct the student council elections at the earliest,” he stated.

UT administration officials will now hold meetings with the police and also consult PU authorities and announce the poll dates. Varsity officials have been saying the elections would be held either on September 12 or 19. However, the sources said the polling dates could be advanced in view of the volatile situation prevailing on the campus. “If process is completed on time, the polls would be held on September 5,” a top official privy to the development said, adding the law and order situation was deteriorating and there was a possibility of students indulging in violence.

This year nearly 18 student groups are in the poll fray, six more than last year. The colleges also have about the same number of groups, if not more. Nearly 15,000 students of the university will elect the fourmember council for the campus and nearly 30,000 students will elect the office bearers in their respective colleges through direct voting.

For nearly two months now, the situation on the PU campus as well as in colleges has been tense with a number of incidents of violence. Earlier this month, the colleges had categorically told the PU administration not to hold the elections and had agreed only after the vice chancellor’s intervention.

POLLS IN NUTSHELL

Number of student voters in PU 15,000

Number of student voters in 12 colleges of Chandigarh 30,000

Number of student parties in PU and colleges Nearly 25

VIOLATIONS AND CRIMINAL CASES GALORE

In the past eight months, at least nine cases have been registered with the Chandigarh police for various offences committed by PU students. Two recent cases of violence had hit headlines. On July 30 night, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad student leader, Abhishek Luthra, was beaten up by students belonging to Student Organisation of India at hostel number 8. On July 1, seven people, including chief security officer, PU, Jatinder Grover, suffered injuries as clashes between Student Organisation of India and Panjab University Student Union occurred at the helpdesk over a student leader switching parties. The police have also registered FIRs against 27 student leaders for defacing public property on the campus.

PU DOESN’T RECOGNISE PARTIES

The PU does not recognise political parties and elections are held by voting for individuals, who are allotted symbols. On campus as well as in respective colleges, four office-bearers —president, vice-president, secretary and joint secretary — are elected through direct voting.

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