JNU gears up for presidential debate today

JNU gears up for presidential debate today

A day before the big presidential debate for the JNU student union elections, gradual signs of student campaigning in the campus were evident ahead of the September 11 balloting.

The campaigning was disciplined and there was hardly any show of strength two days before the elections, unlike the Delhi University where use of money and muscle power is more dominant.

“The campaigning is generally restricted to mess timings and sometimes the candidates go to the classes,” said Nivedita Kapoor, a PhD student of School of International Studies in JNU.

Also, unlike the Delhi University, contestants are satisfied using photocopies of pamphlets and hand-made posters to woo voters and not spend astronomical amounts on printing and pasting posters across the campus.

“Candidates across party lines follow the Lyngdoh recommendations and stick to the code of conduct set up by the Election Commission. So, the campaigning is quite disciplined and we don’t see any fights between the candidates,” said Jyothi Das, a PhD student, and a supporter of Students’ Federation of India (SFI).

The polling for Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) is scheduled on September 11, same as that for the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), and a total of 22 candidates are in fray. The main parties fighting the elections are incumbent Left-backed All India Students’ Association (AISA), SFI, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF).

One of the core issues that figures prominently in the agenda of all the parties is the hostel facilities. Though the AISA claims it has been able to solve the problem to an extent by ensuring opening of dormitories during its tenure, students seem to be disenchanted.

Priyadarshani, a first year student of Sociology, who hasn’t been allotted a hostel room even one month after joining the university, said, “All the parties claim they will do something regarding the hostel crisis. But, it has just become a poll issue. Nobody is working seriously on this issue.”

“There is a lot of anti-incumbency because of the hostel problem,” Das said.

Another student said that AISA only held hunger strikes throughout the year and could not do something concrete about it. He and most of his friends are going to exercise the ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) option, which was introduced last year.Besides the issues within the university, the parties are also focusing on issues of national importance.

The candidates are expected to be asked questions related to their parent parties in the presidential debate on Wednesday.

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