Stung by various controversies, this year's Panjab University campus student council elections witnessed numerous violations of the Lyngdoh Committee guidelines, because of which the university could take an extreme of holding indirect elections to student body, from next year.
Officials said, not only did the academic activity suffer on campus, even allegations were levelled against top university officials of 'favouritism' and politicisation of the university.
For the first time in the university, National Students' Union of India (NSUI), student wing of Congress party, won two seats, including, that of president of student council by Chandan Rana.
However, NSUI's victory resulted in homegrown non-political outfits, Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) and Panjab University Student Union (PUSU), who faced a humiliating defeat, resorting to locking of vice-chancellor's office gates for days and protests for almost a week, claiming that the polls were 'rigged.'
Even, the never-talked-about elections for selecting five executive members of the council from among departmental representatives, saw high drama and there was large scale deployment of police on the election day to thwart any untoward incident.
Dean, student welfare, Navdeep Goyal, who took most of the students' wrath during the elections, said, "We are concerned about what has happened this year. We will have to do some rethinking now. To restore academic environment, we would not hesitate to hold indirect elections from next year."
Most candidates outnumbered each other in splurging money to make sure they win the elections, but if officials are to be believed, all of them have submitted before the university that they spent between Rs. 4,000- Rs. 5,000 only.
Though, officials did not come on record, but they said PU does not recognise student political parties. "Elections are fought by individuals. Expenses and campaigning is done by the political parties. Candidates are merely faces for one year," said a top official, adding that, when they try to nail down a candidate on violations, they blame it on the parties and claim that the elections were contested by him in his individual capacity.
Another official added, "Technically, it is true. It is difficult to establish that all the spending was done by a particular candidate."
Another argument in the support of indirect elections that the officials are citing is that Lyngdoh guidelines for student elections recommended indirect elections in campuses such as Panjab University, where the strength of students is very high.
Infact, in his first visit to Panjab University, former chief election commissioner JM Lyngdoh, who headed the Lyngdoh Committee guidelines panel for the student council elections in the country, had also stressed that large campuses such as PU and Delhi University should go for indirect elections to curb use of excessive money and poll violations by the students. Lyngdoh visited the campus in August 2013, days before the student council elections.
The students, however, seem to be divided on the issue.
PUSU campus president Yadvinder Singh, said, "Direct elections have their own importance. If the university decides to take the move of indirect elections, we will oppose it."
SOPU campus president Arshnoor Dhillon said, "In given circumstances, if we are convinced that the new system would help in curbing all the ills that student politics is inflicted with, we might support it."