Panjab University, Dean Students Welfare Navdeep Goyal talks about the arrangements made by the varsity for conduct of the polls smoothly and in a peaceful manner.
What arrangements have been made to conduct the elections smoothly?
Firstly, campaigning this year will close 24 hours before the polling day. We have decided to implement it for the first time. Secondly, we will take all the campaign material from the student organisations so that they don’t litter the campus after the polling on September 7. Thirdly, we have allowed only four tents on the university premises during the campaigning and have ensured that these are put at fair distance from one another. Earlier, tents put up at close proximity by various student outfits often resulted into violent scuffles. Fourthly, this year all the students
parties are allowed to hold rallies on the same day on Monday. We have also allocated a specific time for holding the rallies. All the rallies will be held with a one hour difference.
Are you going to impose penalty or take any action for violation of guidelines laid for the rallies and disposing of polling material?
For the first time, we have introduced these steps. We are trying our best to enforce the guidelines. It always takes time to put a system in place and get it implemented, especially in the institutions such as universities.
How many security guards will be deployed on the university campus during elections?
We have got the intimation that the UT administration would deploy 600 security personnel on the campus on the polling day. Besides, we have our own security staff.
Have you installed CCTV cameras on the campus for better monitoring?
Yes, we have installed CCTV cameras at all sensitive points in the university and these are now fully functional. From Monday, we are going to press mobile videography teams in action to record all important election-related activities on the campus till the conclusion of the polling process.
How many polling booths have been set up? Is there any increase in the number of polling booths this time?
Yes. Compared to last year, we have increased two polling booths this year. Last year, the total polling booths were 146 and this year, there are 148. According to the guidelines, there should be one polling station for 200 students. So, we have made arrangements to accommodate 150- 200 students at one polling booth.
What do you have to say about the NOTA option being introduced this year?
Now it has become a part of general elections in the country. We want the students to get to know about it and its use. Moreover, there was a demand from some students to implement it and so we have complied with it. None of the Above Option (NOTA), which has been introduced this year, will let us know how many students don’t like the candidates contesting the elections in various departments. Earlier, the students would not come to vote because they did not want to support any organisation. With the introduction of NOTA, these students will have an option.
Has the number of voters increased this year as compared to last year?
Yes, the number has increased this year. There are 1,521 new voters this year. Last year, there were 13,681 voters, while this year, there are 15,202. The department of UIET has got an increase of 617 voters. This year 2,514 students will vote from UIET as compared to 1,817 last year. Whereas, 158 voters have increased in the UILS department. The department has 1,174 voters this year as compared to 1,016 last year.