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Panjab University takes Left turn, away from money and muscle power

The left-leaning outfit forced other established parties — NSUI and SOI — to take up student issues more vigorously and mocked them for offering freebies to students.

punjab Updated: Sep 07, 2018 11:50 IST
Arshdeep Arshi
Arshdeep Arshi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Panjab University,Left turn,money and muscle power
Students For Society leaders Kanupriya, Damanpreet Singh and Harmandeep Singh.

Eight years since its coming into being, the Students for Society (SFS) created history on Thursday by winning the presidential post in the Panjab University student council elections.

Students have given their verdict on the right wing intervention in the university.Damanpreet Singh, SFS leader

Started as a discussion group, the SFS has come a long way in becoming the face of student politics. The left-leaning outfit forced other established parties — NSUI and SOI — to take up student issues more vigorously and mocked them for offering freebies to students.

The SFS was founded in 2010 by five students, of whom only one — Sachinderpal Pali — is actively involved in its affairs now. “The regressive money and muscle power politics and a view that a woman cannot be the president have been broken by the win,” says Pali.

The party’s first shot to popularity was in 2013 when it led a student agitation against fee hike. But it earned a bad name in April 2017 when a similar protest turned violent, and it got tagged as ‘anarchist’ and its supporters were called ‘stonepelters’.

The students have thrown out regressive politics and brought in true democracy.Harmandeep Singh, SFS leader

Initially hesitant to fight polls, the SFS fielded its first presidential candidate, Amandeep Kaur, in 2014 but lost. After a gap of one year, it again fielded presidential candidates in 2016 and 2017, but failed.

Despite the poll upsets, party did not change its tactics and its leaders remained grounded and shunned use of money and muscle power, which had become integral to the PU student politics. It rather forced other parties to bring down their spending and focus on day-to-day problems on the campus.

Promises to keep
  • 24-hour hostel timing for girls
  • Hostel for everyone
  • Regularisation of fee structure in self-financed courses
  • Scholarships for students
  • Representation in the senate

Student-centric issues are easy to be made part of electoral manifestoes but equally difficult to deliver on them. For the SFS, it is not going to be a cakewalk in the council with just one member. The journey becomes all the more difficult with a ‘right wing’ vice-chancellor at the helm.

First Published: Sep 07, 2018 11:46 IST