JNU, DU to cast votes for student unions

Candidates puncture claims, agendas of rival political parties during presidential debate

Slogan shouting, hooting and songs kick-started the presidential debate on Wednesday at Jawaharlal Nehru University. The debate went on till the wee hours. Thursday is no campaign day and Friday is the polling day for Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union elections.

Omprasad, presidential candidate of All India Students’ Association (AISA) denied allegations of zero achievement by the last JNUSU-AISA and criticised the members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

“Such a student union should not be part of this campus. They are communal fascists. Look what happened in Assam and the exodus thereafter,” said Omprasad.

Calling the newly formed Students’ Federation of India SFI-JNU unit as ‘rebel SFI’ Omprasad said, “The members say that they do not agree with several ideas of Communist Party of India-Marxist. But they are the one who agree to all their ideas once out of campus,” he said.

SFI-JNU was formed recently after a disagreement with the parent party CPI-M over supporting United Progressive Alliance’s presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee.
Four members were expelled from the JNU unit of SFI and a new party SFI-JNU was formed which was supported by AISA.

Taking a dig at CPI-M, Omprasad said: “The rebels say that there is no right to dissent in the party.  How will there be a right to dissent when whoever disagrees is kicked out of the party,” he said.

Kopal, SFI’s presidential candidate, called the SFI-JNU as ‘politically unclear which has lost direction’.

“The SFI-JNU is passionate Left than practising Left. It is AISA which has attacked the organised Left SFI to create differences among once our party members,” she said and urged the rebel SFI to reconsider the decision of starting an independent party.

“We are saying it is one university and we should take one stand. Creating another party which has our own members asking for autonomy is not right,” she added.
V Lenin Kumar, SFI-JNU candidate, responded to SFI’s stance on autonomous party.

“There were ideological differences. We could not have supported Mukherjee’s presidential nomination as he has brought neo-liberal economic policies which cannot be considered as pro-people and which is the idea behind Left movement,” he said.
Rashmini Koparkar, ABVP’s candidate called all Left leaning parties ‘Maoists’.

Promising an increase in job placements, she said, “We come here to study so that we can get a job, make a home. While all these Maoists who say that a placement cell will be pro-privatisation make JNU their home, not all students can stay in the campus for years. They need jobs.”

Iqbal Singh Sandhu, National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) candidate said a placement cell is required in the campus. This was one of the agenda in the last elections.

Candidates raised issues like lack of hostels, water scarcity in the hostels, providing alternate accommodation, crumbling infrastructure after the Other Backward Classes (OBC) expansion, remedial classes in all schools and departments, lowering marks for viva voce, time limit in hostel mess and convention halls.

Students for Resistance (SFR) has boycotted the elections over its reservations on accepting Lyngdoh Committee guidelines.

During the last elections Democratic Students Union (DSU) also took a similar stand. Several members from DSU shifted to SFR and were seen shouting slogans against AISA-SFI for bringing Lyngdoh rules in the campus.
However, they were seen supporting AISA.

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