Will JNU stay red? Left Unity set to win, ABVP gives a tough fight
Birsa-Ambedkar-Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA) leaped to the second position in all four central panel seats where ABVP was initially giving a tough fight to the Left unitydelhi Updated: Sep 09, 2017 23:56 IST
Jawaharlal Nehru University was engulfed in cheers and jeers as counting of votes continued into the late hours of Saturday. The incumbent left alliance maintained its lead on the central four seats of JNU Students Union. The RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had initially reared its head as a strong contender but at time of going to print, it had settled into third position with students from the Left breaking into celebrations.
Birsa-Ambedkar-Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA) leaped to the second position in all four central panel seats where ABVP was initially giving a tough fight to the Left unity. A total of 4,639 votes were cast on Friday, marking a 58.69 per cent turnout, which was marginally lower than the previous year’s over 59 per cent.
While the final vote share of each student group for the central seats is expected to be announced on Sunday, the results of the councillor seats for various schools were announced on Saturday, with the Left unity — an alliance of All India Students Association (AISA), Students Federation of India (SFI), Democratic Students Front (DSF) — winning big in humanities schools.
All five seats at the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies (SLL&CS), four out of the five seats at the School of Social Sciences (SSS) and School of International Studies (SIS) each, were won by Left unity candidates. A BASO candidate, Chepal Sherpa, claimed one seat at the SSS and an independent candidate, Prahlad Kumar Singh, won a seat at the SIS.
While humanities and social sciences schools voted for the Left, the science schools leaned towards the right and voted big for ABVP. Two of the three councillor seats at the School of Environmental Sciences (SES), all three councillor seats at the School of Computer and System Sciences (SC&SS) and School of Life Sciences (SLS) each, the one seat at the School of Physical Sciences (SPS) were won by ABVP-backed candidates.
Nidhi Tripathi, the ABVP’s presidential candidate had also taken a short-lived lead against the Left unity candidate, Geeta Kumari, at this point. The ABVP candidate, Tripathi, was hopeful and said that their victory in science schools has to be viewed as a changing trend in JNU.
“ABVP had looked at campus issues and not national or international politics. And that definitely has increased our appeal among students. For how long will students keep voting based on what happens in Gaza or Palestine? What matters to them more is what is happening here in campus,” said Tripathi. ABVP had managed to get a seat in the central panel in 2015 when Saurabh Sharma was named the joint secretary in 2015. But it disappeared from the panel last year when AISA-SFI coalition swept the polls.
The Left, however, seemed almost sure of their victory by late night on Saturday, with slogans claiming that “JNU Lal hai or Lal rahega” erupting at many points.
“ABVP votes are consistent, and they maintain that 1000-1200 core votes every year. They will get that no matter what they do or don’t on campus. But they may not get anymore. Last year too they had come in at second position for the vice-president and general secretary positions,” said Amal PP, the outgoing VP of the JNUSU, who is supporting the Left unity panel.