The elections to the Punjab Agricultural University Teachers’ Association (PAUTA) will be held on July 22 and candidates for 15 posts from two groups — Kingra group and Siag group — filed their nominations on Friday.
However, the incumbent president, H S Kingra, did not file his nomination as confusion prevailed over the president’s term because of the controversial clause in the PAUTA constitution.
While the nomination went off peacefully on Friday, an emergency general body meeting was also held on Thursday, called by the incumbent Kingra group which the Siag group termed ‘sympathy gaining tact’.
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Kingra was to file nomination papers for fifth time this year. But the PAUTA constitution says that one cannot be a president for more than three terms.
Confusion lies in the fact that earlier one term used to be of two years, making president eligible for six years but later it was amended and one term was reduced to one year.
Mukesh Siag, contesting for the president’s post, said, “It is astonishing that an emergency general body meeting was called on Thursday when elections are three days away. It was more of an election campaign rally by Kingra group to gain sympathy and declaring that Kingra will not contest for the president’s post. No meeting was held during entire term. Then why this show two days before elections?”
“The returning officer is similar person who was there in elections last year. No wonder he did not raise objection last year and neither he will do this time,” he added.
Kingra, however, insisted that “he is eligible to contest but he will not do so”. “From our group, K S Sangha will contest for president’s post,” he said. “I am eligible as constitution still permits six-year term but I am astonished that why the opposition did not raise any objection last year when I stood for fourth time?”
“Emergency meeting was called to clarify the issues as we received so many queries from faculty,” he added.
Returning officer Sukhpal Singh said, “By mistake, the term of body was amended but clause related to president’s term was not. As per constitution, Kingra is still eligible to contest but because of controversy he has not filed his nomination.” As many as 766 faculty members of PAU will elect PAUTA body on July 22.