Written by Angad Singh Brar
The First of the Panjab University students election guidelines states that a person who is not a student of the college or university cannot take part in the election process in any capacity. However, this barriers has not been able to stop the key strategists of the political parties, who work behind the curtains. Chandigarh Newsline spoke to three such strategists who are the force behind their parties.
Nirjog Singh Mann
In 2008, Nirjog was pursuing his dream to become a pilot in California when his father’s sudden death compelled him to return to India. In need of an Indian qualification, Nirjog joined the USOL department of PU in 2012, where he became the party president of PUSU, four years later. He passed out from the Law department last year and in the current campus election, Nirjog is the strongest voice backing the NSUI candidate Nikhil Narmeta.
From giving speeches to attending party meetings, Nirjog is doing it all. Speaking on his political activism, Nirjog said, “I became the party president of PUSU in 2016 and ensured that my party won the elections. It was after six years that PUSU won an election. Due to some internal differences among the party leadership, I joined NSUI and as the party chairman, I led an election victory for the NSUI. In 2017, I joined the Youth Congress and became Punjab’s media head.”
On his future plans, he quipped “I plan to make the party win this election and later, I will go wherever my life takes me. It is the journey which interests me more.”
Rana Balkaran Singh Gill
Before joining DAV College in Chandigarh, as a school student, Balkaran used to visit the college during student elections. As he joined college in 2009, he observed that all the promises made by the student leaders had remained unfulfilled. He founded the Indian Students’ Association (ISA) while he was in BA third year and got elected in DAV College. He later joined a Diploma in Urdu at PU and since then he has continued to be the chief strategist and influencer within the ISA party.
Known as a charismatic leader, Balkaran is responsible for selecting candidates to be fielded in the election. He campaigns relentlessly, along with his party mates, and remains a key part of the ISA, despite remaining on the sidelines, when it comes to office bearing.
On his drive for student politics, he said, “I am not a seasonal frog who will disappear after the season. I will always remain on the campus until my aim of making student politics separate from mainstream politics is fulfilled.” He further added, “Students should be concerned about their immediate struggles in their college lives and bother about mainstream political issues only after they leave college. Ideological neutrality is a must before a person can become a student leader and that is what I am here to cultivate.”
Vikramjeet Singh Vicky Middukhera
Belonging to the village of Middukhera near Badal village, Vikramjeet is a seasoned student politician. He became the chairman of DAV College from SOPU in 2007 and later, in 2009, he joined Masters in Public Administration at PU. The following year, he became the party president of SOPU and held the post till 2012. In 2013, he became the state president of SOPU.
A turning point in his career was joining SOI in 2014, under the leadership of Bikram Singh Majithia, and the next year, Vikramjeet delivered an electoral victory at PU by a record margin of 1,500 votes. He was the Chandigarh zone president of SOI from 2015 to 2018 and personally handled every election. Despite staying away from the university, he asserts that it is his passion for politics which keeps him involved. On his plans for the future he said, “I am currently working under the leadership of Sukhbir Badal and plan to devote myself to Punjab’s politics and agriculture.”
Whereas, speaking on his role in engineering the alliance among SOI, PUSU, ISA and HIMSU, he asserted that “It was my expertise which made this alliance possible. I am one of the strongest force behind the formation of this alliance.”