While Panjab University is yet to announce the dates for the student council elections, the prospective candidates have taken to social networking tools like Facebook and WhatsApp to reach out to a larger student population.
The students’ organisations believe that social media campaigning is extremely important to win any elections, especially during the days when the university does not allow to hold campaigns within the campus.
“Facebook and Whatsapp are the best mediums to get in touch with the students who are not much interested in student politics,” said Vikas, one of the senior leaders of Hindustan Students’ Association (HSA).
Be it National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) or Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU), Students’ Organisation of India (SOI) or Students’ Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), all the 11 other parties can be seen equally active on social media.
The online medium helps in flaunting their achievements, posting day-to-day activities, animated slogans, initiating debates on particular issues, criticising other parties and the PU authorities for their failure to consider the students’ demands, asking for suggestions and feedback from the supporters and helping students to find admission-related information.
NSUI Chandigarh has three official accounts namely, NSUI PU Chd, NSUI Panjab University and NSUI PanjabUni. One of their statuses read, “All other accounts are fake and if found, please report them.” The profile picture of their official page says, ‘Keep Calm and Support NSUI’.
The activities and the photographs posted on their pages will be accompanied with interesting details such that nobody misses out on the election news. The parties have also made several groups on WhatsApp to let the students know about the events and dharnas taking place on the campus.
One of the university students, Vanshika Sharma, said, “Surprisingly, some students are more active on social media than they are on campus. Being a hosteller, we do not get to know much about their whereabouts but through Facebook and WhatsApp groups, we keep getting hundreds of notifications daily about their activities and check-ins.”
Vicky Middhukhera, one of the leaders of SOI, who could be easily found on several SOI facebook pages including SOI Zindabad, said, “Since online campaigning is allowed, why not utilise it in a way that every student in the university gets to know about the candidates and their roles. Then, it is upto them to decide whom to vote for.”
“This off-campus campaigning also paves a way to share our ideas and suggestions about bringing reforms to the university in the easiest way possible.
The students who are not a part of politics rather come up with more ideas, which is interesting,” said Amninder Mann, a presidential candidate for the student council elections, whose party takes care of the page-SOPU Panjab Uni (PU Campus).
Meanwhile, the facebook page of the Students’ federation of India (SFI) will have more ideology-based statuses and instead of the party candidates, Shaheed Bhagat Singh will be found in the display picture.