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Panjab University elections: How others lost the game to SFS

The defeat is being seen as a stinker for national student leaders as well as their parent parties in view of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

punjab Updated: Sep 07, 2018 13:32 IST
Arshdeep Arshi
Arshdeep Arshi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Panjab University elections,elections,Lok Sabha elections
SFS supporters unfurl Bhagat Singh’s banner at the Student Centre to celebrate the victory. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

A mandate that is being termed as a stinker for national student leaders as well as their parent parties in view of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) results have hammered them hard. National Students Union of India (NSUI), the Congress’ student wing; Student Organization of India (SOI), the student party of SAD and right-oriented Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), were checkmated by a leftist party, which won its first election. NSUI, which has given the campus three presidents in the past, came at the fourth position this time. It had secured three posts in last year’s polls. As of SOI, it won the 2015 presidential election and three years later, was hoping for a sweeping comeback but managed only two positions in alliance with five parties.

NSUI’S presidential nominee with criminal record

Became a major force on the campus in 2013 after some leaders from the Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) left the party for the re-launch of NSUI. It won in 2013, 2014, and 2017 and this time has won only one seat. The party was fighting anti-incumbency in the election, besides SFS. The party instead of highlighting what it had in store to offer, focused more on defaming SFS. The faction-ridden party had too many leaders but failed to impress PU voters. Worse still, the party’s presidential nominee was found to have a criminal record and its campus office bearer was facing allegations of carjacking and being an aid of gangster, Sampat Nehra.

Supporters of ABVP, SOI, NSUI and other outfits having an argument with the PU authorities during counting at the Gymnasium Hall on Thursday. ( Rai Kumar/HT )

SOI’s old guards failed to woo the young

The party was routed for the third time in a row on the post of president. Armed with old guards Robin Brar, Vicky Middukhera and Simranjit Dhillon, the SOI failed to woo young student voters, who were swayed by student centric issues of SFS. It forged alliance with five parties but internal strife and alleged anti-party campaign pushed it to third position on the post of president. The win was important for its mother party, SAD, which is to fight Congress in next general elections in Punjab. The party also fell victim to poor political management as it chose a presidential candidate from a department with only 60 votes.

ABVP focusses on tarnishing the SFS

Though it is a face saver for the right-wing party as it is for the first time that it’s presidential candidate secured over 2,000 votes and bagged the second position, but PU mandate hit its nationwide nationalism campaign hard. The alleged support from the authorities also could not help the party to make a mark in the PU history. The defeat could also be attributed to party’s sole agenda to dub SFS as ‘anti-national gang’. It spent its entire energy in the malicious campaign against the SFS instead of showcasing anything positive. The dinner diplomacy is also, it seems worked against the saffron party.

Home-grown parties fading out?

Last five years have not been good for the home grown SOPU and PUSU on the campus. SOPU has got wiped out of PU’s student politics and has not won any election in the past five elections in a row. As of PUSU, which donned the council many times, has not been able to win any seat this time too. Last was in 2016, when the party won presidential post in alliance. Fragmentation of party just ahead of polls, spoiled the broth for the party. The student outfit of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) – INSO sided with SOI and has won the post of secretary this time. Despite direct backing from INLD the party has not been able to muster courage to go solo in PU polls.

First Published: Sep 07, 2018 13:32 IST

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