As the election process for the Panjab University Students’ Council got under way on Friday, several prominent leaders who were projected as presidential candidates were disqualified for various reasons, mostly for shortage of attendance, leaving their organisations in the lurch.
Prominent among them were Rimpy Brar of the National Students Union of India (NSUI), Amninder Mann of the Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), Gautam Nain of the Indian National Students Organisation (INSO), Amit Dahiya of the National Students Organisation (NSO), and Sahejpal Singh Sidhu of the Panjab University Students Organisation (PUSU).
Their organisations will now have to field candidates who were never in the race. From every organisation, four or five candidates had filed nominations for each post. Obviously, the replacements for disqualified candidates will be picked up from them while others will be asked to withdraw their nominations before the deadline on Saturday.
Nominations of as many as 54 students for the post of president, 47 for vice-president, 55 for general secretary and 52 for joint secretary were accepted. Among the presidential candidates who qualified were Neeraj Kharb of the Hindustan Students’ Association (HSA), and Anil Sharma of the Himachal Pradesh Students’ Union (HPSU).
DSW Navdeep Goyal said, “The nominations come to us from each department and it is their responsibility to disqualify a student who does not fulfil the eligibility criteria. The majority of the nominations cancelled were due to attendance shortage. Some nominations were cancelled because of errors in the nomination papers.’’
Goyal said he had not received objections against any nomination. “Students have time to withdraw their names till 12 noon on August 30, after which the final list of candidates will be sent to each department,” he added.
Some students’ organisations held protests, complaining that their candidates were not given attendance benefit for a two-week training. Besides, cases of mass bunk were not discounted.
At the University Institute of Engineering and Technology, members of PUSU and SOI held a demonstration and alleged that the attendance issues of NSUI leaders were ignored.
Renu Vij, director of UIET, denied the allegation. She said, “We gave attendance to all those final year students who had gone for training. Mass bunks were considered as delivered lectures this time, but we have warned the students that from the next academic session, mass bunks will not be considered as delivered lecture.’’
SOPU vice-presidential candidate Navjot Kaur, who was also disqualified, sat on a dharna at Botany Department, accusing the authorities of arbitrariness.
Protests were also held at the University Institute of Legal Studies and the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology.