PU polls: In Chandigarh colleges, student outfits harp on old promises
Promises, agendas and manifestos of various student wings in city colleges are more or less identical this year, recycled again from previous years. For most student leaders the buck stops at issues related to cleanliness, clean drinking water, washrooms, safety and security of women, library facilities, canteen, hostel, and parking woes.
Here are some promises and demands which have remained unchanged over the years.
HOSTEL TIMINGS FOR GIRLS
Most of the girls complain about ‘discrimination’ when it comes to hostel timings in co-educational colleges. At Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharma College (GGDSD) College, Sector 32, and DAV College, Sector 10, the hostel entry deadline for girl students is 5:30 pm even as boys are allowed in till 9 pm. The manifesto of the Student Organisation of India (SOI) as well as Sanatan Dharma Hostel Union (SDHU) of GGDSD College this year again promises extension of girls’ hostel timings. A similar point was made last year too.
SANITARY NAPKIN VENDING MACHINES IN GIRLS’ WASHROOMS
All student outfits have this point in their manifesto. “All colleges have this machine. I promise to get it if elected this time,” says Udesh Rana, presidential candidate of the SOI unit of DAV College.
Sahil Hartala of Sanatan Dharma College Union (SDCU) running for the post of president has promised to look after the “Repair and maintenance of sanitary pad vending machines and girls’ common room.”
READING ROOM TIMINGS
Udesh Rana also promises to extend library timings in his college as do Hartala and Jahanvie Saini, also from GGDSD. Saini, while alleging that SDCU has plagiarised their manifesto, adds, “We had completed our manifesto 10 days before the polls were announced. We raised many points in our speeches which the rival party added to its manifesto.”
ORGANISING GRAND FESTS IN COLLEGE
Every single student outfit has ‘fests’ in its manifesto. “This is one of the major issues, The student council is judged on the basis of the fest organised by them. How grand it is matters most to the students,” says Supreet Kaur, a student of DAV College, Sector 10.
GGDSD COLLEGE: NO CHANGES IN THREE YEARS IN MANIFESTOS
The manifestos of most of the student wings of Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharma College (GGDSD), Sector 32, have not changed for the last three years. Main parties Student Organisation of India (SOI) and Sanatan Dharma College Union (SDCU) release parallel manifestos every year which are also available on their Facebook pages, where the time ‘lag’ is more than evident.
Sumesh Mahajan, a student of Bsc final year adds, “We seniors get the trick. It’s done basically to woo the first-year students. Manifestos, parties and campaigning is just done for them.”
PU PARTIES MAKE ROOM FOR HOSTELS IN PARTY MANIFESTOS
Hostel space crunch is major issue in Panjab University, which can only accommodate 6,000 of its 16,000 students, the reason why most parties have prioritised building of hostels in their manifestos for this year’s PU Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) elections on September 6.
Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and Students for Society (SFS) have demanded hostels. Most student leaders know how important accommodation is for students coming from all parts of the country and are keen to help them get hostel seats to garner more support in the next elections.
“Two hostel projects have been approved,” says Parwinder Singh Katora, ABVP general secretary. He intends writing to the government “as it is a priority issue for the students.”
PU does not have enough space to accommodate hostellers, says Harmandeep Singh, SFS spokesperson. “Day scholars don’t even make up 50% of the students. There would at least be 3,000 to 4,000 students who want a hostel seat but are unable to. Applicants are wait listed through the year.”
Students’ Organisation of India (SOI), the student wing of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) is focusing on more facilities for south campus and on providing better infrastructure for sports students. National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Indian National Congress (INC), is also focusing on the hostel issue and on providing more facilities for south campus.