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Over 14,000 PU students to decide fate of 14 candidates today

Over 14,000 students will decide the fate of 14 candidates for the posts of president, vice-president, secretary and joint secretary and another 117 for department representatives in the Panjab University Campus Students' Council (PUCSC) polls on Wednesday.

chandigarh Updated: Aug 26, 2015 11:35 IST
Bhartesh Singh Thakur
Bhartesh Singh Thakur
Hindustan Times
PU,elections,NSUI
Girls campaigning for their party at Student Center, Panjab University on Friday. Karun Sharma/HT

Over 14,000 students will decide the fate of 14 candidates for the posts of president, vice-president, secretary and joint secretary and another 117 for department representatives in the Panjab University Campus Students' Council (PUCSC) polls on Wednesday.

The voting will start at 9:30am in the respective departments and will continue till 11am. The counting will start at 12 noon and results are expected by 4pm.

This time, a centralised counting centre will function from the varsity's gymnasium hall and steps have been taken to ensure that there is no leakage of information related to trends during the counting.

"It leads to panic. That's why we want to avoid it," said chief security officer Jatinder Grover. However, the trends will be reflected on a projector at the counting centre. Once a person enters the counting centre, he or she will not be allowed to leave till the results are out.

The contest this time is being seen as triangular among alliances forged by three main student bodies -National Students Union of India (the student wing of the Congress); Students Organisation of India (SOI) (the student wing of Shiromani Akali Dal; and Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), which has joined hands with Akhil Bharatiya Janata Party (the student wing of Bharatiya Janata Party).
NSUI is fighting to hold on to power after tasting success for two consecutive years.

In 2013, it held the posts of president and joint secretary. In 2014, it swept the elections by winning posts of president, vice-president and secretary. But this year, it suffered a jolt when nomination of its presidential candidate Hardik Nain were rejected.

Nain would have represented the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), which has the maximum votes on the campus. The presidential candidate, Puneet Sharma, is from University Institute of Applied Management Sciences (UIAMS). NSUI tried to play the sympathy card over rejection of Nain's papers, alleging that PU authorities did so to favour SOI.

On the other hand, for SOI, its Chandigarh unit president Vikramjit Singh Middukhera managed the campaigning. The alliance led by SOI has fielded Jasmeen Kang, a research scholar from Physics department, for the president's seat.

Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) has aligned with ABVP this year and has given the latter two seats. The alliance has fielded Baljinder Singh from the community education department for the top post. PUSU has positioned itself as a party with morals and clean politics.
Issues

NSUI and PUSU raised the issue of drug addiction in Punjab to target SOI. The SOI in turn levelled corruption allegations against NSUI. The other issues which hogged limelight were of sexual harassment on campus by outsiders, vehicle-free academic zone, shortage of hostel rooms, and development of south campus.

Violence-free elections

This year' election largely remained peaceful with only a couple of minor incidents of scuffle. Not a single FIR was registered during the campaigning. In one case, PUSU activist was beaten up and in other incident ABVP activist got hurt.
Swing factors

Surprisingly, the UIET with 2,584 votes has just one candidate Harmanpreet Mahey in the panel, who is contesting for the joint secretary's post from PUSU alliance. On the other hand, votes of students from Himachal Pradesh are likely to split as four candidates belonging to the state are fighting polls.

Read more:Does the contestants' money power swing the student council polls?

First Published: Aug 25, 2015 23:39 IST