Student union polls in Haryana colleges, varsities to be held after two decades
The Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government on Tuesday decided to hold students’ union elections in Haryana colleges and universities in September-October, in a step that will bring back the political activity in educational institutions two decades after it was stopped by the Haryana Vikas Party government.
In the run up to October 2014 assembly elections and in a bid to reach out to the college and university-going youth, the BJP had promised in its manifesto that if voted to power, it will revoke the ban on student elections.
Fixing the schedule to hold student union elections is yet another step of the first ever Haryana BJP government that has been pulling all the stops to galvanise its cadre for the Lok Sabha polls by launching a plethora of programmes to plug with the people.
“It is after 20 years that the students will elect their union leaders in colleges and universities. The students’ union elections will be held in the last week of September or in the first week of October. The ABVP delegation met chief minister and me on Tuesday at Chandigarh after which we took this decision,” education minister Ram Bilas Sharma told Hindustan Times.
CM Khattar and education minister Sharma, who held a video conference with all deputy commissioners (DCs) and superintendents of police (SPs) to review the arrangements of Kanwar Yatra, also directed the officers to make arrangements and ensure that the student body elections are held peacefully.
Jitender Bharadwaj, registrar of Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) Rohtak, said: “Student elections are beneficial as it enhances leadership qualities among them and gives them new opportunities to explore. But as a university, we will have to be careful and ensure the campus environment remains academic and no violence takes place here.”
Meanwhile, Indian National Students Organisation (INSO), the students wing of the principal opposition party Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), dismissed the government’s decision as a “diversionary tactics” to scuttle August 5 rally of the INSO in which the youth body was set to announce its state-wide agitation for holding students body polls.
There are over 7 lakh students studying in colleges and universities across the state. As per official figures, there are 227 colleges — 147 government and 80 government-aided. Haryana has 12 state government-run universities, four central universities, 28 deemed and 19 private universities.
The education minister said the government had set up a committee of vice-chancellors (V-Cs) of different universities of the state to implement this poll promise. He said a foolproof system will be put in place to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections.
Meanwhile, INSO president Digvijay Singh Chautala said the timing of the government announcing this decision was very suspicious. “We had given the ultimatum to the government to hold student body elections. Tuesday’s announcement tantamounts to scuttle our Kaithal rally on August 5. We had said in advance that in this rally, we will announce our state-wide agitation programme against the government’s dilly-dallying tactics in holding student body elections. We will not let this government mislead the students,” Chautala said.