Panjab University students vote today, results to be out in evening

Outfits spend a lot of money on wooing voters; parties to reward hardworking members for good electoral performance

Written by Shub Karman Dhaliwal | Chandigarh | Updated: September 7, 2016 2:17 pm
Panjab University Election, Panjab university Student elections, Student election in Chandigarh, Punjab news, Punjab Students News, latest news, India news On the eve of Students’ Council election at Panjab University on Tuesday. Kamleshwar Singh

IN THE last fortnight, the youth wings of mainstream political parties have pumped in lakhs of rupees in the campaigning for the students’ body elections on the Panjab University campus. To woo the young voters, they did everything — from organising excursion trips to hill stations to dance parties in top-end discotheques of the city to booze parties in hostels, and offering beauty packages for girls in high-end parlours. Now it is time for them to see the result of their hard work as voting for the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council election will be held at all the departments on the campus on Wednesday.

A lot is lined up for the hardworking party activists as well. From gifting iPhone 6 to all-expenses paid trip to Dubai, students’ bodies have announced it all for those who will bring in more votes. The Students’ Organisation of India, the youth wing of Shiromani Akali Dal, has announced that if voted to power, they will take their top dozen hardworking members on a trip to Dubai.

ABVP and NSUI, the youth wings of Bharatiya Janata Party and Indian National Congress, have already given iPhones to their top workers who toiled hard.

Although as per norms, the students’ bodies cannot spend more than Rs 5,000 on campaigning, the situation on the ground is different. Sources disclosed that the BJP, Congress and SAD had pumped in enough money to ensure victory of its students’ wings. Even the Indian National Students’ Organisation, the youth wing of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), had organised numerous fresher parties in various swanky discotheques of the city.

“Demands vary from department to department. Some departments ask for movie tickets, some for trips outside. For girls, we make attractive beauty parlour packages along with vouchers of various eating joints,” said a leader requesting anonymity.

Sources said that ABVP had spent about Rs 25-30 lakh while almost the double of that amount — Rs 50 lakh — was spent by SOI in organising such parties and giving freebies. Similarly, Rs 10 lakh by the Congress and a similar amount by INLD had been spent on organising parties, excursion trips and movie junkets for the students.

One such party organised by ABVP at Tamzara cost Rs 1 lakh. Similarly, SOI organised a party at Paara discotheque and the billing amount for approximately 600-700 students was around Rs 2.5 lakh. A fresher party organised by INSO at Peddlers cost around Rs 70,000-80,000.

Sources said that the average bill for the liquor served in hostels during campaigning could be around Rs 1 lakh per day.

“A student ensuring more than 50 votes with him wins an iPhone 6. If he/she gets more, even an iPad or any other high-end gadget is also promised,” one of the students told Chandigarh Newsline.

However, the leaders claim that the money spent on such events is collected by the students from their own pockets. SOI national coordinator Parambans Singh Romana, who also handles the party’s finances, said, “Any disco parties or trips are not in my knowledge. Moreover, nobody has taken any money from me for any of such activities.”

Dinesh Chauhan, north zone incharge, ABVP, said, “ABVP has not given any fund to the students. Moreover, our students contibute to meet their expenses.” see also page 2