The quadrangular alliance led by Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) swept the PU campus polls on Wednesday after five years. It won all four seats and included a breakaway faction of the National Students Union of India — the NSUI Students Front (NSUI-SF).
PUSU’s Nishant Kaushal, who is doing PhD in biotechnology, defeated his nearest rival, Urdu department’s Piyush Anand of the Students Organisation of India (SOI), by 338 votes. The SOI, student wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), had swept the polls last year. Kaushal is from Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
Fortunes swung constantly in the contest between student-centric PUSU and Left-driven Students For Society (SFS). With 1,720 of the 10,000-odd votes, the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) held the scales.
SOI jumped from third to second spot after the UIET votes were counted. History student Amritpal Singh of the SFS was a surprise package with third place and 2,494 votes. The SFS had run only for the president in only their second campus election. The only woman candidate for president, Siya Minocha of Congress wing National Students Union of India (NSUI), was fourth with 2,074 votes on a girl-dominated campus.
The Rohit Rana-Hardeep Singh Laali group had split from the NSUI to form the NSUI-SF and allied with PUSU.
Brinder Dhillion, who was suspended as Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha constituency Youth Congress president for supporting NSUI-SF is close to Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh.
PUSU had National Students Organisation (NSO) and Himachal Pradesh Students Association (HPSA) for other partners. PUSU stood for president and the NSUI-SF for vice-president, general secretary, and joint secretary.
Avneet Kaur (NSUI-SF) became vice-president by defeating her nearest rival, Indian National Students Organisation’s Sabhyaa Jaswal by 391 votes. The law student got 3,296 votes.
In the contest for secretary, Ashiq Mohammad (NSUI-SF) got 3,381 votes. The margin was just 19.
For joint secretary, Amit Kaushik of the NSUI-SF defeated Manvi Gandhi of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) by 757 votes. Kaushik of the UIET got 3,576 votes to chemistry student Gandhi’s 2,819.
NOTA vote count
A few voters preferred the none of the above (NOTA) option to all the candidates in fray. For the president, there were 191 NOTA votes. The vice-president polled 755 NOTA with the secretary polling 707 in the NOTA count. The joint secretary got 952 in the NOTA category.