The second consecutive victory of the Congress-backed National Student Union of India (NSUI) in the student elections of Panjab University has further marginalised the Students’ Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) and Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU), the old traditional rivals in PU student politics.
Neither PUSU nor SOPU are directly affiliated with any political party. Unlike them, it is the student organisations affiliated with political parties which have emerged as key players in recent years.
Last year, neither SOPU nor PUSU could manage to secure victory at any of the four posts of the PU Campus Students’ Council, two of which were won by NSUI, and one each by INSO and ABVP. This year, SOPU found itself overshadowed by its alliance partner — SOI — under which it took a secondary role while PUSU could manage to secure only one post after a gap of four years.
NSUI rose to power in 2013 after absorbing a number of senior leaders from SOPU. The SAD’s youth wing, SOI, which has always assumed the role of an alliance partner, gained ground recently. The other student organisations, including Indian National Student Organisation (INSO), backed by INLD, are also assuming significant roles.
SOPU, once a strong party, has been losing its old cadre to NSUI and SOI, which are establishing their ground in PU student politics. SOPU has now ended up taking a secondary role in the form of an alliance partner of SOI.
PUSU, however, has been struggling to carry forward the legacy of being PU’s oldest student organisation. It has neither accepted a secondary role nor allowed itself to get disintegrated, but has still not been able to make its impact in the elections. It is after a gap of four years that PUSU managed to secure one post of the Joint Secretary, ever since its clean sweep in 2010 PUCSC elections.
Now the question of survival stares in the face of the university’s homegrown parties, SOPU and PUSU.
These elections also witnessed debut of the Students for Society (SFS), which silenced its critics who doubted its unconventional ways of campaigning involving street plays and its ideology focused on anti-globalisation and fight for minorities’ rights.
The party’s presidential candidate, Amandeep Kaur, managed to secure 1,334 votes, showing it has finally made its way into the student politics of the campus and is here to stay.