JNUSU elections 2018: Counting of votes for the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) elections resumed on Saturday evening after it was suspended as ABVP leaders allegedly broke into counting centres and roughed up Election Committee members. This happened after the results for Councillor seats in Science schools had been announced, where all the posts have been won by anti-ABVP independent candidates in their stronghold.
For the post of councillors, left unity panel candidates are leading in three biggest schools – school of social sciences (SSS), school of languages (SL) and school of international studies (SIS) after the count of first 200 votes.
The JNU EC panel had suspended the counting of votes since 4 AM. “JNUSU EC 2018-19 hereby brings to the immediate notice of media friends that during the counting process, which had began yesterday (14th September 2018) at 10 pm has been suspended due to forcibly entering into the counting venue and attempt to snatch away the sealed ballot boxes as well as ballot papers from our counting centres,” the JNU election committee said in a statement without naming the party which protested.
“This was in addition to intimidation and violence on our Election Committee, including on our female members led by a Presidential and a Joint Secretary candidate,” it further said.
ABVP accused the election committee of rigging the polls in favour of Left organizations. EC is guilty of breaking the seal of ballot box and starting the counting of Central Panel votes without the presence of counting agents of the candidates or candidate affiliated to ABVP. The rule requires that the candidate or their counting agent must see every paper ballot. This action by EC is illegal, mentioned ABVP in its press release. The EC panel, on the other hand, said they gave three calls, but no one from ABVP turned up so they had to begin. It also said the once counting starts, no one can enter or leave the building.
“Counting of votes is being done without adhering to the rules. EC is not following even the bear minimum requirements of election procedure. The biased way of handling elections has put a question mark on EC’s neutrality. We have approached the Grievance Redressal Cell to seek justice. We will not hesitate to proceed to Delhi High Court if we don’t get justice,” said ABVP-JNU unit President Vijay Kumar.
The Left bloc claimed, “Around 4:00am, ABVP broke the glasses of the School of International Studies building. EC stopped the counting indefinitely.” Vijay Kumar, ABVP president of JNU, said their counting agent was not called and the counting process was initiated in front of the members of the Left outfit. “We protested peacefully as the EC is biased towards the Left. We did not create any ruckus,” he said.
The voter turnout in the keenly contested JNUSU election on Friday was 67.8 per cent, believed to be the highest in six years. Over 5,000 students cast their votes. The Left-backed All India Students’ Association (AISA), Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF) and All India Students’ Federation (AISF) have come together to form the United-Left alliance.
Besides the Left bloc, there are candidates of ABVP, NSUI (National Students’ Union of India) and BAPSA (Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association). Technical glitches in EVMs had led to a ruckus during the counting process for Delhi University Students’ Union polls on Thursday, leading to the suspension of counting for close to three hours. The counting had resumed only after parties reached a consensus.
– With inputs from PTI