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Panjab University elections: What’s in and what’s out in campaigning

As compared to last year, most of the students wings have changed their campaigning strategy as they believe that they can garner more votes with new and unusual campaigning.

punjab Updated: Sep 04, 2018 12:59 IST
Srishti Jaswal
Srishti Jaswal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Panjab University,campaigning,Panjab University elections
(HT Photo)

The campaigning trends for Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) elections have witnessed a drastic change over the years.

From campaigning on fancy rides to sporting kurta pyjamas, the students parties its young leaders have come a long way as they are staging street plays and making use of handmade charts to garner votes.

As compared to last year, most of the students wings have changed their campaigning strategy as they believe that they can garner more votes with new and unusual campaigning.

Kurta pyjama out of vogue

Straight fit kurtas with rounded three-fourth sleeves were in vogue from 2012 to 2016. Back then, most young student leaders also sported handlebar moustaches.

Priya Sharma, a student of department of English, said, “I no longer spot students leaders who wear kurtas and pyjamas on campus. These days, student leaders wear wrinkled tees and shirts with rugged jeans.”

Fancy rides no more in sight

This year, expensive cars such as Jaguar, Mercedes and Audi, bearing party stickers, were hardly seen on campus.

Vaani Sharma, a student of department of languages, said, “As compared to last year, we have seen less number of cars for campaigning on campus. Three years back, PU was the prime gedi route of Chandigarh.”

Abhishek Sharma, a senior leader of HPSU (Himachal Pradesh Student Union) in PU, said, “The phenomenon has not disappeared. However, its magnitude has reduced. I recently spotted a Jaguar car on campus, which was brought in to woo the voters. I feel the mentality of students have changed as they no longer care these cars.”

Free trips and booze

The trend of ‘unofficial’ trips and free liquor to attract supporters has reduced over the years. Last month, the student leaders of Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharma (GGDSD) College, Sector 32, had organised a party for freshers.

Handmade charts for campaigning

In line with Lyngdoh Committee Guidelines, various student parties are using handmade charts for campaign this year. A few parties have even got copies of the handmade charts for the ready referral. Earlier, student leaders made use of printed posters.

Agenda driven elections

The election agendas have shifted to issues of fee hike, women empowerment and student welfare. Initially, it was for mere administrative issues such as help during the admissions, washrooms and cleanliness.

Ekansh, a student of biotechnology department, said, “This year, the election is more propaganda based. It is a fight between left and right ideologies. The election agendas have shifted to issues of fee hike, women security, and student welfare”

The change began after 2016

In 2016, Student for Society (SFS) managed to get 2,594 votes, giving competition to prominent student wings. SFS used economical and agenda driven campaigning techniques, which included street plays and debates.

Following it, many student outfits adopted SFS’s mode of the campaign. Harmandeep Singh, a senior leader of SFS, said, “The 2016 PU polls changed the game of campaigning. We spent just Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 and got more than 2,500 votes”

Kuldeep Singh Rawat, a senior leader of HPSU, who has more than 10 years of experience in PU elections, said, “2013 to 2016 was the time of fancy cars, liquor, trips and kurta pyjama. After SFS fought independently in 2016, the situation changed as the party managed to get a large chunk of votes. However, the change was not sudden.”

First Published: Sep 04, 2018 11:49 IST