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It’s united left vs ABVP on campus as JNU goes to polls, 58% turn out to vote

The left looked confident of retaining all central panel seats while the ABVP claimed it will break the left stronghold on the Delhi campus this time.

delhi Updated: Sep 08, 2017 23:00 IST
A Mariyam Alavi
A Mariyam Alavi
Hindustan Times
Delhi news,JNU,ABVP
Supporters shout slogans and throw pamphlets during JNU student union election in New Delhi on Friday. (Vipin KUmar /HT PHOTO)

With slogans, songs, cheers and jeers, the Jawaharlal Nehru University was nothing short of a festival ground on Friday, when students cast their votes to elect their next representatives. Voters said they have chosen their candidate based on party affiliations, gender and identity politics, and agenda for the university and students.

Though the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) polls had a lukewarm start with not many turning up for the morning polling sessions, by the end of the polling at 5.30pm, over half of the 7,904 voters had cast their ballot. The turnout came to over 58.69 per cent with 4,639 students casting votes.

A security guard checks IDs during JNU student union election. (Vipin Kumar /HT PHOTO)

There are six candidates in the fray for the seat of president, four for vice-president, four for general secretary, and six for joint secretary. While there are five major student unions in the fray, most believe that the competition might boil down to the united left — an alliance of the All India Students Association (AISA), Students Federation of India (SFI) and Democratic Students Front (DSF) — and the RSS backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

A supporter shouts slogans during the election. (Vipin KUmar /HT PHOTO)

Other unions include Congress’ National Students Union of India (NSUI), Birsa Ambedkar Phule Student’s Association (BAPSA) and the Communist Party of India’s All India Student’s Federation (AISF). An independent candidate MD Farooque Alam is also running for the post of president.

The incumbent left, which was an alliance between AISA and SFI last year, is positive about retaining the central panel. They had swept all four central seats and all except one councillor seat, last year. “We will win again this year. There is no doubt about it,” said Mohit Pandey, the outgoing president of the JNUSU, who had won the seat as an AISA-SFI alliance candidate last year. Pandey added that their top contenders would be ABVP. “They will come in second,” he said.

AISF candidate Aparajitha Raja with supporters during JNU polls. (Vipin KUmar /HT PHOTO)

However, the ABVP which had won a single seat in 2015, hopes to break the stronghold of the left on campus and come to power.

“We are the biggest single student outfit on campus. We have not had to make any alliances. We are confident that this time students will vote for ABVP as they are fed up with the zero achievement regime of the left,” said Saket Bahuguna, the spokesperson of ABVP. The common voters, however, said the presidential debate was the deciding factor for them. “We are more concerned with our rights. I hear there is an independent candidate who has been talking about the issue of people with disabilities,” said Shweta Mandal, a provisional PhD candidate at JNU.

First Published: Sep 08, 2017 22:59 IST