The allegations posed by ABVP on Saturday, accusing JNU’s Election Committee — made up entirely of students — has thrown the spotlight on the varsity’s election process, which is unlike any other.
The ABVP cited Rule 5(b) of part 3 in Appendix 1 of JNUSU constitution to say the statutes had been violated, and that the EC was rigging votes in favour of the Left Unity panel. “It says no votes can be counted unless counting agents of all candidates are present at the counting hall. The rule provides that each ballot paper must be shown to counting agents of all candidates. EC members broke the seal of the ballot box of School of Sciences in the absence of the counting agents of the candidates,” alleged ABVP’s Saurabh Sharma.
The rule he was referring to states: “All ballot papers while being counted must be displayed to the candidates or a person authorised by the candidate.” The EC said it had made three calls before beginning counting of votes. A similar situation had occurred at a different counting centre, when the Left unity panel candidate could not make it on time for counting. It continued without the polling agent.
“The rule says what it says, but one cannot wait endlessly. We have always had a tradition of giving three calls to round up polling agents of all candidates. Here, too, there was a gap of half an hour between the first and last call. EC members even went around to ask if anyone was with the candidates, but when we did not get any response, we had to start,” said an EC member.
Unlike DU, where EVMs are used, JNU uses paper ballots. After the election, ballots are collected in the School of International Studies. EC members call for counting agents on a loudspeaker. The building has four counting rooms. Periodic announcements are made as votes are counted. The process of counting for both Councillors of Schools and the central panel happens simultaneously. “Either a polling agent or the candidate has to go for counting. Once it begins, we don’t allow anyone to leave or enter,” said the member.