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PU polls 2017| ‘Role of profs in NSUI win’: Meet with Rahul Gandhi fuels row

punjab Updated: Sep 10, 2017 14:01 IST
Ifrah Mufti
Ifrah Mufti
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
PU polls 2017,NSUI,Rahul Gandhi

(From left) Jammu and Kashmir NSUI president Neeraj Kundan, NSUI national president Firoz Khan, PU physics department chairperson Navdeep Goyal, Congress national vice-president Rahul Gandhi, University Institute of Legal Studies professor Varinder Negi and PU Punjabi department head Yograj Angrish in New Delhi on Friday. (Photo: Facebook)

A meeting between three Panjab University professors with Congress national vice-president has given an element of strength to murmurs on Panjab University (PU) campus that authorities had a ‘role to play’ in ensuring that three of four seats in the student’s council went to National Students Union of India (NSUI), the student wing of the Congress.

The meeting came to public knowledge after a photo of Gandhi with professor Navdeep Goyal, chairperson physics department, who is a senate and syndicate member and also former dean students welfare (DSW); Varinder Negi, professor University Institute of Legal Studies and Yograj Angrish, HOD, Punjabi department, was posted on Facebook. National NSUI president Firoz Khan and senior party leader Neeraj Kundan are also in the frame.

Photo removed after it goes viral

Minutes after Kundan updated this picture on his Facebook wall, student organisations shared it with the caption, “A day after PU polls: For all those who don’t believe that PU authorities interfered in council elections.”

Due to their position, professors can usually influence students to vote for a particular candidate. The three professors were also part of the poll process.

When this went viral, the photograph was removed from Kundan’s account.

Students’ for Society spokesperson Harmandeep claimed, “The authorities have been actively supporting NSUI. We raised issues like re-tendering of shops, co-operative messes and 24-hour entry in girl hostels. It’s good that things have come out.”

‘Met Gandhi for varsity work’

The professors claim the meeting was professional and no links to the varsity polls. Professor Navdeep Goyal, said, “It is a coincidence that we got to meet him the day after the poll results. There is no connection the two. We had met him regarding increase in grant.”

Goyal is heading one of the groups in Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA). The SFS candidate who lost in a close fight to NSUI for the presidential post is a student of physics department which Goyal heads.

Yograj Angrish said, “It is our right to meet the political leaders. Earlier we had met Sukhbir Badal also. Student bodies have used obectionable words about our photo on Facebook. We never tried to support the NSUI. From my Punjabi department, NSUI secured only 16 votes and SFS took the lead.”

Sanjay Tandon, BJP president of the Chandigarh unit, who is also a senator, said, “People in high position should stay away from political activity. Their justification is not plausible.”

Another senator Rabindernath Sharma said, “Professors meeting Rahul Gandhi just a day after results has created doubt on NSUI’s victory. Students’ bodies have got a chance to speak against authorities and accuse of them being a part of the NSUI campaign.”

Professor Rajesh Gill, president of Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) refused to comment.

First Published: Sep 10, 2017 13:59 IST