Punjab University student polls: Catchy Hindi phrases in ABVP manifesto to woo voters

ABVP is the first party to release the poll manifesto despite the curse of the “long weekend”. Owing to a Janmashtami holiday on Monday, student bodies will get only a day (September 4) to campaign right before the election.

Written by Oindrila Mukherjee | Chandigarh | Published: September 2, 2018 6:31:08 am
ABVP-HSA-HPSU-HIMSU leaders after forging their alliance, at DAV College in Chandigarh on Saturday. (Express Photo by Jaipal Singh)

There’s a desi twist here on the lines of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao: ‘Hum dikhenge bhi, aur milenge Bhi’ is a slogan for a student-friendly grievance app for an approachable student council, claims the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in its manifesto that was released at the Student Centre on Saturday.

Not only this, the student organisation has embellished each of the 13 items on the manifesto with catchy Hindi phrases, hopeful of wooing voters ahead of the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) election on September 6.

ABVP is the first party to release the poll manifesto despite the curse of the “long weekend”. Owing to a Janmashtami holiday on Monday, student bodies will get only a day (September 4) to campaign right before the election.

Some other items on the manifesto include all-India participation in PU’s cultural events and activities such as the annual festival, Jhankaar. This item is being called ‘Hum sabki Jhankaar’.

“This is the first time we’re using these phrases in the manifesto. It’s unique and makes it more reader friendly,” said Harmanjot Singh Gill, central working committee member, ABVP.

From claims of ‘Namak nahi quality maapenge’ for checking food quality at hostels to ‘Har case hoga report’ for implementing an anti-harassment committee in each hostel to ‘Naa ruke paisa, naa ruke research’ calling for reserve funds of the university for a continuous supply of research fellowships, the ABVP is going all out to make their mark this year.

The party has joined hands with the newly formed Students’ Federation of Panjab University (SFPU). Barring the presidential candidate, three others for vice-president, secretary and joint secretary are from SFPU. The party has named Ashish Rana from the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS) as its presidential candidate along with Harasees Chahal of dental sciences as vice-president, Sahil Jaglan from University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) as secretary and Hemant Sharma from UILS as joint secretary. All the three departments have a major share with close to 4,000 votes.

So, ‘Suvidha ab Door Nahin’ (construction of a canteen and a stationery shop on the south campus), ‘Light aur Padhai dono Chalu’ (resolving electricity issues and using generators during exam time), ‘Clerk nahin, student hain hum’ (establishing a single-window system for students’ clerical work), ‘Chhat ki tangii hogi khatam’ (two new hostels), ‘Aazaadi – seelan aur gandagi se’ (modernisation of kitchens and washrooms), ‘Boring khaana band’ (Periodic change in mess menus), ‘Har koney mein har samay apni sawari’ (increase in number of e-rickshaws and 24-hour operations) and ‘Kursi ki chik chik band’ (24-hour library services), all feature on the “ambitious” manifesto of the student party.

“It makes no sense to coin such slogans; the ABVP needs to improve ground work to gain votes. Sloganeering and all is fine if you’re also doing some good work,” said a student present at the manifesto release.

Presidential candidate Ashish Rana said, “We started the drive, ‘Donate your ideas’ and asked students their issues and after taking a feedback, we compiled our manifesto,” adding “this is not a political manifesto; it is of students, for students and by students.”
The Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU) alliance with the Himachal Pradesh Students’ Union (HPSU) has also released its manifesto that is divided into four categories – academics, sports, infrastructure and women empowerment. Under academics, the party has promised to revive the placement cell, increase scholarships for economically and socially backward students and revise the attendance criteria for reappear examination. In sports, the party has rallied for more coaches and extra marks for playing sports at the national level. For infrastructure and women empowerment, it has promised to launch an online complaint portal linked to the PUCSC president and revise hostel rates for girls.

The National Students Union of India (NSUI) will release its manifesto on Sunday. Their main issues are re-evaluation policy of teachers’ by students, PUCSC representation in the Senate and better placement cell on the campus. Last year, the major issues were 24-hour entry to girls’ hostels and sexual harassment on the campus. But this year, hostel allotment and living conditions have become the major focus for all parties.

However, at least two parties, Students for Society and Students Organisation of India (SOI), have mentioned the introduction of general body meetings for students if their parties are voted to power.

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