Written by Angad Singh Brar
With Panjab University inching closer to the student council elections and candidates relentlessly working to woo voters, the code of conduct imposed on the campus has taken a back seat.
According to Panjab University’s general guidelines for student elections, campaigning must not be done through the medium of vehicles. However, in contrast to the guideline, the campus has been abuzz with cars, with stickers of leaders and political parties plastered on them, making it an instrument for political campaigning. Parties including HSA, SOI, INSO were seen flouting the code, even as Sandeep Kumar, an SFS party member, told Newsline, “Our party does not believe in a campaign where rules and codes are ignored.”
According to the code of conduct, “no candidate shall be permitted to make use of printed posters, printed pamphlets or any other printed material for the purpose of canvassing.” In contravention of this statement, almost all the student parties were seen using printed posters, manifestos and stickers for campaigning. Following campaigns, comprising the use of posters and stickers, the common grounds, including UIET’s canteen area, are littered with these printed stickers and pamphlets of the political parties.
Another guideline prohibiting candidates from holding public meetings in classes during teaching hours was gravely violated, as the this particular method of campaigning, remains to be the primary strategy for influencing voters.
Candidates of almost all the parties were seen entering classes on the pretext of taking “just five minutes” but conducting campaign sessions for as long as 25 minutes during the classes. Despite the prohibitory orders, the classes were also marred by the teacher’s reluctance to such campaigning sessions.
On violations of rules on the campus, an official in the office of the Dean of Students Welfare told Chandigarh Newsline, “Violations of the code of conduct are bound to happen, as there will never be an ideal environment. However, at the same time, it is encouraging to see almost negligible litter in the campus if we compare it to the past years. Moreover, there has not been any case of defacement of university property in this election season.”