Among cheers and slogans from students,presidential candidates for the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) elections took to the stage on Wednesday evening to woo voters a last time before the code of conduct comes into force.
The issue of new students sleeping in dormitories and the living conditions on campus came up for debate yet again as most organisations questioned the the relevance of an interim union.
All India Student Association (AISA) candidate Om Prasad spoke about the achievements of the incumbent AISA-led union. In a first of its kind,gender sensitisation classes were held on the campus to create awareness against sexual harassment. The move was initiated by us, he said.
Om Prasad also spoke about the unions efforts in getting a written agreement from the administration about increasing merit-cum-means scholarships.
Student Federation of Indias (SFI) presidential candidate Kopal Singh countered AISAs claim and said the union did not do anything to address basic issues such as shortage of water on the campus. There is a need to harvest water on campus and make better use of the tree cover, she said.
Kopal Singh also spoke about the need to have a student member on the panel conducting viva-voce examinations for admissions as was the practice till 1983 to ensure that no discrimination is possible.
Vinay Kumar from the All India Backward Students Forum (AIBSF) questioned the unions inability to implement the 27 per cent reservation for other backward classes in its entirety.
Candidate Khalid Khan from a lesser-known organisation,Campus Front of India (CFI),spoke on the need for organisations to address students issues that have been pending for more than five years. Organisations raise issues on occasions like these (the presidential debate) but do nothing to solve them, he said.
But the speaker who drew the maximum cheer from students was Independent candidate Abhay Kumar of the School of Social Sciences. He criticised AISA for not working for student issues on campus even though they have had been retaining four central panel seats since 2007.
National Students Union of Indias Iqbal Singh urged students to reject the Left politics on campus and consider a secular democratic alternative. The organisation has been pressing for making the campus WiFi and for a placement cell for students.