Despite celebrating the maximum voter turnout of girls during student union elections every year,Panjab University (PU) is yet to see a girl as the president of the student council,with most parties still hesitant to consider girls for major positions.
As other student bodies contemplate over the issue,HSA (Hindustan Student Association) has taken the lead by announcing Aakansha Sood,a third-year student from the Department of Chemistry,as its contender for the presidents post in the upcoming student council elections. We are the only party which has put a girls photograph on party posters,unlike other parties, has members Vikas Kinna said.
Earlier,ABVP (Akhil Bhartiya Vidya Parishad) and INSO (Indian National Student Organisation) have already made a mark by projecting girls as presidential candidates. INSO had projected Rita Ghail,a student of LLM as its presidential candidate last year,but she lost. ABVP has projected a girl candidate for the post three times,but none of the girls could make it to the post.
When student leaders from other organisations were questioned about the absence of girls in the student council,they gave various reasons,but with a common base. Manoj Lubana,NSUI president,says,It becomes difficult for girls after they get elected. They will not be able to do anything if they receive a call for help late at night. As a student leader,you have to be on the toes all the time. Moreover,their families are also against them participating in elections.
Sumit Goklaney,a senior party member from PUSU (another party which has never fielded a girl as the candidate) said,It is difficult for girls considering the amount of time involved. But we will select a girl if we find somebody capable enough.
A girl is equally capable for the post of president, says Deepika Thakur,a former student leader,who was also the only girl student in the history of student elections in PU to be elected as the general secretary. Moreover,there are no such issues which would require girls to be out at odd hours. Main issues are regarding hostels,admissions,annual festivals,and they can be easily dealt with, she adds.
Though their chances still seam bleak,Meenakshi,girl in-charge,NSUI,is optimistic. It is upto the girls to decide. Girls tend to be dependent on the main leaders while taking decisions and end up as their shadow. Unless they take authority,they will not be able to occupy the major posts, she said.
There are other student leaders who stand by the strength of girls. Prabhpreet,student leaders from SFI (Student Federation of India) says,Talk of any major movement,girls have always proved their mettle through hard work.