More than two months after Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover asked student organisations on the campus to help form a code of conduct for the elections, none of them has come forward with recommendations, raising a question mark on student council elections, which are usually held in September.
“Our aim was to collect feedback and make the student bodies accountable for their actions, but none of them has shown any interest. So be it. We will also not hold elections,” said Dean of Student Welfare Professor Navdeep Goyal.
He added, “We had clearly stated that they will have to come up with a draft of rules, which they all will abide by, without any objection, or else there will be no elections this year.”
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It was at a meeting held in early May that the V-C, in the presence of DSW and Chief Security Officer Jitender Grover, had invited suggestions from student bodies to ensure a peaceful election process.
Since the Lyngdoh Code of Conduct is operational for a limited period, the PU authorities said that they needed some mechanism to check violence on the campus, in pre- and post-election period.
Last year, after the PU Campus Student Council elections, there were large-scale protests by 10 student organisations, followed by a six-day-long hunger strike, challenging the final results, alleging rigging in favour of NSUI, and calling for fresh elections.
Asked about their failure to make suggestions for a code of conduct, the student organisations said that it needed to be framed by an authoritative body, not by student bodies.
“University officials are shirking from their responsibility, it is up to the university to frame the rules, and not student bodies. It is practically impossible for all student representatives to sit and frame rules,” said president of the Panjab University Students’ Union Sahejpal Singh.
The student organisations are also miffed over the authorities’ statement that there will be no elections in the absence of a code of conduct. “If the university intends to ban students’ elections, then let there be a ban on the teachers’ elections, and all other campus elections as well. There has to be democracy on the campus,” said Prabhpreet Singh, president of the Students’ Federation of India.