Hyderabad varsity polls: ABVP routed in student body polls
Candidates of Alliance for Social Justice won all the posts, including that of the president and general secretary, in the students’ union elections.india Updated: Sep 23, 2017 23:53 IST
This year’s student’s union polls in different parts of the country could be termed as a setback for Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) that lost all seats in the University of Hyderabad (UoH), whose results were declared late on Friday night.
A coalition of students groups comprising of organisations representing Left, Dalits, Tribals, with backing from Rohith Vemula’s Ambedkar Students’ Union, swept the polls to the students union of University of Hyderabad, defeating the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
In all, three Dalits, two Muslims and an Adivasi won the elections in the Central university of Hyderabad. The ABVP failed to win even a single seat.
The UoH election results are significant as Sreerag Poickadan of Ambedkar Students Union’s was elected as president defeating his nearest rival Karan Palsania of ABVP by a margin of 170 votes.
Vemula, a PhD student, committed suicide by hanging himself in a hostel room on the campus in 2016 after alleged caste-based discrimination, was member of the union.
He allegedly resorted to the extreme step during a protest along with four other Dalit students over their suspension by the university following a clash with an ABVP leader.
It was for the first time the union was contesting in alliance with other left student wings.
This is for the eighth consecutive time that the ABVP has been kept out of the students’ union in the University of Hyderabad, a Central university.
The saffron student outfit has faced a similar defeat in the recently held student union elections in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) at the hands of the United Left Alliance and in Delhi University by Congress’ National Students Union of India (NSUI).
It also failed to win a single seat in the Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh.
“The fact is that PU is the only university in the region, where elections are held showing inclination of young minds from across India. We get students not only from the region but across the country,” Professor Ashutosh Kumar, department of Political Science, Panjab University (PU), said. The university is not a central one but a national university funded by both Haryana and Punjab governments.
The saving grace for ABVP came from the BJP ruled Rajasthan, where it managed to sweep polls in Maharaja Ganga Singh University Bikaner. Overall in the state, the ABVP won more posts than the NSUI, showing that it still retains its hold in the universities.
Elections took place on August 28 and results were declared on September 4.
Rajiv Gupta, former head of department of sociology at university of Rajasthan, said there is a decline in the popularity of the ABVP in the Rajasthan university campus.
“This decline has taken place due to lack of attention by centre and state government to higher education and the privatisation of higher education. Anti-rightist forces are taking root among students and students are beginning to question the saffronisation of education,” he said.
In Gauhati University, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) came back to win a majority of the seats, two years after ABVP made some inroads.
Traditionally, AASU had done well in the university where NSUI used to hold sway till 2001.
“One generally gets an idea of the political drift from Gauhati University students’ elections. The institute has for years produced leaders who have decided the political fate of Assam, particularly since the days of the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation from 1979,” political scientist Dilip Chandan said.
Reacting to the results, Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot had said the results are satisfactory and the youth now understand that the BJP government at the Centre and in the states cannot fulfil their aspirations.
(with inputs from Hyderabad, Guwahati, Chandigarh and Jaipur)