Panjab University student polls: Battle lines drawn, 9 in fray for president
The authorities said it will be the first time that as many students are in the fray for the top post. Usually, there are just five candidates in the fray.Updated: Sep 04, 2017 10:10 IST
A day after 21 student organisations filed their nominations for the Panjab University Campus Students Council (PUCSC) elections, the dean, students’ welfare (DSW), on Saturday released the final list after scrutiny, objections and withdrawals.
Of the 48 candidates who had filed nominations for the post of president, only nine passed the scrutiny.
The authorities said it will be the first time that as many students are in the fray for the top post. Usually, there are just five candidates in the fray.
However, two of the candidates are from the same party — National Youth Association (NYA).
“Two party members filed nominations for the post of president by mistake,” said NYA spokesperson Dr Jaideep. “Due to some confusion, they could not withdraw the nomination. We will hold a press conference on Monday to announce who among the two is the final candidate.”
Meanwhile, PU officials maintained that there are nine presidential candidates in the fray.
Also, six candidatures were finalised for the post of vice-president against 46 filed and 10 each for the posts of secretary and joint secretary. A total of 59 candidates had filed nominations for the post of secretary and 54 for joint secretary.
Major parties go solo
Breaking from the norm set in the past elections, as many as three main contenders — National Students Union of India (NSUI), Students for Society (SFS) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) — have decided not to form any alliance this year.
Of the 21 student parties in the fray, these three besides two minor players — Hindustan Students Association (HSA) and NYA — have decided to go solo.
While the NSUI and SFS have fielded candidates on all the four posts of president, vice-president, general secretary and joint secretary, the ABVP is only vying for the president’s post.
Other presidential candidates are from the Students Federation of India (SFI); Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU) and PU Helping Hand (PUHH) combine; and the alliance of Students Organisation of India (SOI), National Students Organisation (NSO), Independent Student Association (ISA) and Pal Pehalwan Students Organisation (PPSO). Out of the nine candidates, one is an independent.
‘A new strategy’
After 2013, it will be the first time that the NSUI will be contesting the election independently. In 2014, the Congress’ student wing was in the fray in alliance with the National Students Organisation (NSO) while in 2015 it joined hands with Himachal Pradesh Student Union (HPSU) and HSA. Last year, it formed an alliance with Himachal Student Union (HIMSU).
Even as NSUI has announced no alliance, the Gandhi Group Students Union (GGSU) has offered its unconditional support to the party.
“We wanted to adopt a new strategy,” said a senior NSUI leader. “There is this misconception that we can only with support of other parties. We want to prove such naysayers wrong.”
The ABVP, student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has also decided not to forge any alliance this time after having contested the 2016 elections along with the SOI and with the PUSU a year before that. Even in 2014, it had gone solo.
“This is not the first time that we are contesting the elections independently,” said ABVP state president Saurabh Kapoor. “But for the first time we are vying for only the presidential post.”
Kapoor said the decision was taken as this year both PUSU and SOI didn’t looking “winnable”.
Meanwhile, the SFS, which has been contesting the election alone since 2014, claimed forming an alliance is not an option.
“We belong to a revolutionary party,” said SFS spokesperson Harmandeep. “Our ideology does not match with that of any other organisation. Thus forming an alliance is not possible in our case.”
SOPU nominations not cleared
Meanwhile, none of the nominations filed by the Students’ Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) were cleared. Party chairman Laddi Singh said they are in talks with SOI and NSUI for an alliance.