The Left Unity panel swept the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) elections late on Saturday night by winning all four central panel seats with comfortable margins. Despite a close contest on the post of president, the Left was able to restrict ABVP to the second position. Last year too, in the aftermath of the February 9 incident in campus, the AISA-SFI combine had swept on all four seats.
Geeta Kumari and Simone Zoya Khan from the All India Students’; Association (AISA) were elected as the president and vice president, Duggirala Srikrishna from the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) was elected as the secretary and Shubanshu Singh from the Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF) was elected as the joint secretary.
Kumari secured 1506 of the total 4620 votes polled, beating Nidhi Tripathi from the ABVP with a margin of 464 votes. At the post of joint secretary, Singh polled 1755 votes, 835 more than Pankaj Keshari from ABVP.
Like last year, the largest margins were on the post of President and Vice President. While Khan polled 1876 votes, Srikrishna got 2082 votes. They beat their closest competitors Durgesh Kumar of ABVP and Nikunj Makwana of ABVP respectively with a margin of 848 and 1107 votes respectively.
“People know what is the need of the hour, so they have voted accordingly. Once again they have trusted the Left to protect and fight for their rights,” said newly elected General Secretary Duggirala Srikrishna.
Former JNUSU vice-president Amal PP said the mandate was both against the Right wing forces nationally and in the campus. “This was a vote against their communal politics, as well as their attack on education which resulted in such a drastic seat cut,” he said.
The ABVP which finished on second position on all posts, unlike last year when they were second only on two posts, said the results were “moral victory” for them. “Three Left parties had to come together to defeat us. That in itself shows our strength. These elections are a moral victory for us. Common students are realising who works for them and who only makes empty promises,” said ABVP presidential candidate Nidhi Tripathi.
The Ambedkarite group Birsa Ambedkar Phule Student’; Association (BAPSA), which had emerged as a third pole last year, also gave a spirited fight. Their candidates finished third on all seats. Shabana Ali got 935 votes on the post of President, Subodh Kunwer got 910 votes on the post of vice president, Karam Bidyanath Khuman got 854 votes on the post of secretary and Vinod Kumar got 860 votes on the post of President.
“We are satisfied with the results although we were expecting to do better.. Our main aim is to have an Ambedkarite discourse, rather than win seats in JNU. With organisations like AISA and SFI student movement has suffered terribly, so we will work towards strengthening that, despite not being in the union,” said Shabana Ali from BAPSA.
However, the AISF – which was banking on former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar’s popularity – failed to make a mark. Aparajitha Raja, daughter of CPI leader D Raja, finished fifth on the post of President with 416 votes, just behind independent candidate Farooque Alam who got 419 votes. Their candidate on the post of Joint Secretary, Mahdi Hasan secured 214 votes and finished sixth after the NSUI and even NOTA.
Like last year, the NSUI performed dismally, securing almost half the number of NOTA votes. Interestingly, a large number of students, especially in the Science schools opted for NOTA. A total of 1512 NOTA votes were polled, as opposed to 728 total votes for NSUI across all posts.