JNU readies for big presidential debate today

Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University are ready for the big fight. After the list of nominated candidates for the JNU students’ union poll was announced, students are gearing up to hold the much anticipated presidential debate on Tuesday.

It will be an ‘open house’ session, where nominated candidates for the post of president will talk about their parties’ election agenda.
 The University General Body Meeting also took place on Monday. It was a platform for debate for candidates contesting for the post of vice president, general secretary and joint secretary.“During Monday’s meeting, the candidates talked about why they stood for the elections and what their party has done for students on the campus,” said Zico Dasgupta of Students’ Federation of India. He is contesting for the post of president.

“There is also a ‘question and answer’ round in the debate. Students are free to ask any question about the poll. This debate is an exclusive JNU tradition where candidates give students ample freedom to think and then vote,” said Dasgupta.

In the central panel, the JNU election committee has selected 10 candidates from different parties for the post of president, five for vice president, and six each for general secretary and joint secretary.

The general body meeting of different departments was held on February 23 and 24, where councillors nominated from departments debated.

“This poll is happening after a gap of four years. A majority of students on the campus will see the well-known presidential debate for the first time,” said Ritubhan Ghosh, an MPhil student of Philosophy.

“We have heard so much about the JNU model of election, specially its presidential debate. The campus will be packed tomorrow. Several former students who did not see the election will attend the debate,” said Ghosh.

While campaigning started a week before the final list of the nominated candidates were declared, the official campaign began on February 23.

“JNU has a history of not using a lot of money during elections. For campaigning, we are using posters and distributing pamphlets. Before the candidates’ list was out, we were going to classes, hostels and eateries to interact with students,” said Vismay, a campaigner for All-India Students’ Association.

February 29 will be no-campaign day and the poll will be held on March 1. At least 123 candidates are contesting.

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