On the last day of election campaigning, political parties were found distributing liquor on the university campus.
Chandigarh Newsline found more than two dozen bottles of Blender’s Pride and Smirnoff each in some rooms in boys hostel number 2 and 5.
In the past, the parties would refrain from bringing liquor to the campus. They would distribute slips among students who would show these at a designated place or vend and get their bottle. The bottles were transported around the campus in cars of various party leaders. Apart from liquor, there were reports of opium being distributed among students.
ABVP presidential candidate Paras Rattan claimed that his party or alliance partner INSO were not involved in liquor distribution. “We are strictly against this practice, I fear someone may be framing us.’’
The university’s security seemed clueless to these goings-on.
SOI hosted a party at Safehouse, a discotheque in Sector 7, for the first year students of the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology. Students trooped in, in large numbers as the party seniors welcomed them.
All quiet at DAV college amid poll din
The Panjab University and its constituent colleges are engulfed by the election season. DAV College in Chandigarh has remained one of the most politically active colleges in the university. With several incidents of violence and property damage in the past, the college has also seen intensive campaigning. But this year, unlike previous years, it witnessed some newfound silence.
Insiders attribute it to the principal, Dr Pawan Kumar Sharma, who took charge not long ago. He has ensured that there is no incident of violence inside the campus and party rallies have also been stopped from entering the campus. Only silent processions for campaigning were seen within the campus.
In this election there are three candidates fighting for the post of the president. Abhijeet is contesting from INSO, Lakshit is representing the HSA and Udesh is representing SOI.
There was also a difference in the alliance matrix in DAV College when compared to the university level alliance. While INSO and SOI are part of the same alliance in the university, they are contesting against each other in DAV College. INSO has grouped with NSUI in the college. The other alliance in the college is among HPSU, HIMSU, HSA and ABVP.
“The strictness within the college has increased manifold. There are plenty restrictions on canvassing and these restrictions are being actually followed in the college”, said Rajat Puri, an ABVP student leader in DAV College, while talking about the canvassing by these alliances in the college.
On inquiring about the expected voter turnout, Rajat elaborated, “The usual voter turnout in the college is around 30 per cent and the same is expected this year. But there is also the issue of classes being vacant due to students in the second and third year of different courses avoiding the elections. Classes of first year students have some strength and that is the group of students which forms the major vote bank for different parties.”
Apart from the lull within the college campus, there was a matching lull on the road outside the college too. The Chandigarh Police has placed barricades on both ends of the road, which has helped in restraining political rallies on cars in front of the college.
(Written by Angad Singh Brar)
A day in the life of a presidential candidate
It is 7 am on Wednesday. Priya wakes up to a hectic day as it is the last day of campaigning for the Panjab University students’ election.
At 8.30 am, the presidential candidate of SFS can be seen standing along with a couple of other students from the party at the back gate of hostel number 4 with charts in her hand. Across the North and South campus, around 25 SFS supporters are standing at the major round abouts with charts in their hands stating Priya’s code.
After spending 30- 40 minutes at the gate, Priya begins her final round of class-to-class campaigning.
As she moves from one class to another of the Economics department, Priya asks the students passing by in the corridor, “I came to your class, right?”
The guy on the other side replies in affirmative.
She further asks, “How was the response after I left?”
“It was good,” comes the reply and Priya moves on to the next class, accompanied by four to five students.
After spending an hour and a half at the Economics department, Priya reaches the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology at 11 am.
Being a big department, the team plans to spend close to two hours here.They go from lab to lab meeting the research scholars. Priya herself is a research scholar in the department of Chemistry.
While shifting from one one class to another at UICET, a party member meets Priya and reminds her that she has to be present at the Student Centre at 1:30 pm as the famous play of SFS “Mela votan da” will be staged there.
After the hectic campaigning in the scorching heat, Priya reaches the Student Centre, looking as energentic as she was in the morning. She was no longer in that sweat-drenched kurta of hers. She was talking to the crowd in a bright Orange kurta and in a loud, demanding voice.
Suddenly, it started drizzling and as the rain intensified, the play came to an end and the crowd dispersed. It was now time for the team to shift to the South Campus. After a quick lunch, the team sets off for South campus.
Some people tag on scooty, while some others took e-rickshaws and others decided to walk. When Priya was asked what is the difference between a regular day and a campaign day, she replies, “Nothing much. On a regular day, I will be standing inside the chemistry lab at 9:30 am, while during campaign days I will be at one of the departments.”
It was then time for the BAMS research scholars in the South campus to listen to what Priya had to say.
In between, she receives a message. The play which was scheduled to be staged for the second time at 6:30 pm near the girls’ hostel has been preponed to 4:30 pm. Priya finishes her speech and rushes back to the North campus.
By the time the play finished, mediapersons are already waiting in line to interview Priya along with some other candidates.
Since it is the last day of campaigning, SFS students are seen discussing if they could campaign inside the hostels or not. They do not want to take a risk of violating the code. According to the code of conduct, until the elections are completed, outsiders or not allowed inside the hostel premises.
It is 7 pm and the curtains close for campaigning of elections 2019.
(Written by Paranjaya Mehra)