ON THE last day of campaigning before the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) elections, all student organisations were seen putting their best foot forward, as the leading three party alliances SOI+HIMSU+INSO+NSO+YOI, ABVP+PUSU+SAP and NSUI+HPSU+HSA held rallies across the PU campus on Monday.
Throughout the last week during campaigning across the university departments and hostels, student parties urged all the students to vote. “Many students just do not turn up to vote, but each vote is very important, which is why we have been stressing the fact that each and everyone must vote this year,” said Arshpreet Kaur, a supporter of SOI.
Chairman of the Himachal Students’ Union (HIMSU) Anshul Nainta said, “We have been appealing to all the voters to at least cast their votes, irrespective of the party they choose to vote for. We have also requested the hostellers wishing to go home to stay back till 11.30 am on Wednesday, and go home after that.”
Over the last two years, a voter turnout of about 60 per cent has been recorded during the PUCSC elections. Dean Students’ Welfare Navdeep Goyal said, “Over the years, there has been no significant change in the voter percentage. The voter turnout in 2014 was lesser than in 2013. The change was very small, as in 2013 we recorded a voter percentage of about 60.1 per cent, and in 2014 it was 59.8 per cent.” see also page 2
Some students are hopeful that the voter percentage is likely to increase this year, as the elections are being held on a weekday. Divyanshu Budhiraja, president of last year’s Students’ Council, said, “Last year, on the day of the elections, it started raining. A higher voter percentage could have been recorded last year, but it came down because of the rain. This year, however, the elections are being held on a weekday, i.e. Wednesday, so we are hopeful that there will be at least a turnout of about 65 to 70 per cent.”
However, others feel since Raakhi is being celebrated on August 29, many students have already gone home. “Elections are being held on Wednesday, which is why students have assumed that less classes will be held throughout the week. Therefore, many have already gone home, and that might affect the voter percentage this year,” said Rajesh Kumar, a student of PU.
DSW Goyal added, “It is very likely that the voter percentage may go down this year, since the elections are happening just a few days before a festival.”
The PUCSC elections were likely to be held on August 28, but later, a recommendation was sent by the PU authorities and the UT Police for holding the elections on August 26, as many students would be going home for Raakhi on August 29.