Students and members of student organisations are warming up for the election season with the advent of the new academic session at Panjab University (PU).
Formation of students’ organisation alliances, demonstrative hunger strikes, inter-party fights and bickering, PU has just begun to witness its share of election-related drama and furore.
Despite being banned from setting up official help desks during the ongoing college admissions, student organisations, including National Students Union of India (NSUI), Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Students’ Organisation of India (SOI) and Indian National Students’ Organisation (INSO), have started establishing their foothold by helping freshers with the admission process.
This is also leading to clashes between the student organisations. On Monday, members of NSUI and SOI were involved in a minor fight on the PU campus.
The election season is also marked by merger of students’ parties. National Student Organisation (NSO) joined hands with ABVP on Wednesday. Sumit Ruhal, the president of NSO said” “We have joined hands with ABVP because together we want to address certain common issues of the students on the campus. We want to look into the problems faced by the research scholars”.
Vikas Singhla, the Punjab secretary of ABVP, feels the alliance will provide a major boost to ABVP in the upcoming student elections.
The university also witnessed high drama after two members of the Panjab University Students’ Union (Pusu), Ashish Kumar and Navaldeep Singh, went on a hunger strike against the admission process on Friday. After seven days of protesting outside the vice-chancellor’s office in PU, the members finally ended their strike on Thursday after intervention from the university authorities. “We were forced to adopt this approach as the authorities had not been paying heed to our demands for a long time now,” said Navaldeep.
Chandigarh president of NSUI, Gurjot Sandhu, said they had no plans of forming any alliance and was confident about contesting elections on its own. Members of SOI are not far behind in catching up with the preparation for the elections. Vikramjit Singh, the president of the Punjab unit of SOI said” “We are working on our plan for the student elections. By next week, we will start implementing our agend”.”
As student organisations are gearing up for the elections, PU students have started putting their demands forward. Some students want the elected student body to ensure better hostel accommodation, while others are seeking for no hike in the college fees” “The major concern for us is the increase in the college admission and enrollment fees. We would want the elected student council to look into this matter seriousl”,” said Manveet, a student at PU.
Dates for the students elections have not yet been declared by the authorities. As per the Lyngdoh committee guidelines, student council elections are required to be held within six to eight weeks from the date of the commencement of the new academic year.