(Samir Jana/HT PHOTO)
(Samir Jana/HT PHOTO)

West Bengal govt gives nod to conduct students’ union polls after 2 years

The Higher Education Department has already sent a letter to the vice-chancellors of four unitary universities - Jadavpur University, Presidency University, Rabindra Bharati University and Diamond Harbour Women’s University - to conduct student union elections.
Kolkata | By Press Trust of India
UPDATED ON OCT 21, 2019 11:30 AM IST

After putting student union polls on hold for over two years in all the colleges and universities in the state, the West Bengal government has decided to allow the institutes to conduct elections whenever they deem appropriate, state minister Partha Chatterjee said.

The Higher Education Department has already sent a letter to the vice-chancellors of four unitary universities - Jadavpur University, Presidency University, Rabindra Bharati University and Diamond Harbour Women’s University - to conduct student union elections.

Unitary universities are varsities that act as a single unit without any affiliated college under it.

“We have issued a notification to hold students’ union elections in the unitary universities. The schedule of the polling will be decided by the university administration concerned,” Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said.

“We will hold elections in all the colleges shortly.

We are waiting for clearance from the administration and the police,” he said.

Enquired about the time for holding the elections, Chatterjee said it depends on when the clearance is given and definitely not when examinations would be there.

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday termed the move as positive and said the state government should ensure students union elections in all the universities and colleges.

Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP), the students’ wing of the ruling TMC, and the Arts Faculty Students’ Union of the Jadavpur University welcomed the government’s move.

The students of Jadavpur and Presidency universities had staged demonstrations in 2017 and 2018 demanding that the students’ union polls be held.

In a bid to contain campus violence in college and universities, the Mamata Banerjee government in June 2017 had mulled an idea to bring in “apolitical students councils” instead of student unions with political affiliations in all the educational institutions across the state.

Several instances of clashes between supporters of the TMCP and the Student Federation of India, the student wing of the CPI-M have marred student body elections before June 2017.

Incidents of assault on teachers, professors and principals of schools and colleges had also been reported from various parts of the state in the last few years.

No students’ union elections have been held in any college or university in the state since the middle of 2017.

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