The students’ union polls at Jadavpur University held after a gap of three years was conducted amid tight security today. The polling process in which Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) participated for the first time went off without a hitch. The polls were held after tension ran high at the campus over the last few weeks that witnessed widespread campaign by CPI(M)-backed Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
Trinamul Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) has also contested the polls. The walls of the campus were painted with poll graffiti, and red, green and saffron flags fluttered from the academic buildings. The students’ union activists including JNU students’ union president Aishe Ghosh as well as followers of rival unions had taken part in processions outside the campus shouting slogans which besides students’ issues included controversial CAA and NRC days ahead of the polls.
“Elections are being held at Arts, Science and Engineering faculty and the polls have been peaceful so far. Large numbers of students have participated in the polls and cast their votes,” said a university official. Except for the PhD researchers, more than 7000 students of undergraduate, postgraduate and MPhil courses were eligible to cast their votes.
“The polls are being held peacefully. However, some activists of Democratic Students’ Front (DSF) attempted to influence the students who were casting votes at the engineering faculty. Otherwise, the polls have been conducted peacefully,” said Nikhil Das an ABVP contestant for the central panel. Sounding upbeat on ABVP’s poll prospects, the university’s ABVP unit president Suman Das said, “Today nine ABVP candidates are contesting for the first time in JU, and we hope to do well.” “The elections are being held in a very peaceful manner and we are confident that the students are voting in favour of our candidates. This time the contest is between the TMCP and the Leftists,” said Trinankur Bhattacharya, a spokesperson of Trinamul Chhatra Parishad.
However, fighting on a poll plank of resistance against fascism and development work done by them, the SFI is confident of retaining their position. “It is a time of resistance against fascism and stand against the divisive politics based on caste, religion, gender and language,” said SFI leader Debraj Debnath. ABVP, which has been trying to gain a toehold in JU, has fielded candidates in 40 posts of Arts Faculty Students’ Union (AFSU) and Faculty of Engineering and Technology Students’ Union (FETSU) along with the positions of class representatives.
Each central panel in these two faculties has posts of a chairperson, a general secretary and two assistant general secretaries. So far JU has been a hotbed of Leftist student politics with organizations like the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Democratic Students’ Front (DSF), United Students’ Democratic Front (USDF), We The Independent (WTI) and All India Students Association (AISA) dominating campus politics. University vice-chancellor Suranjan Das had on Monday appealed to all the stakeholders for a violencefree poll and urged the students to keep on the tradition of cooperation and harmony during the elections.
Jadavpur University authorities and vice-chancellor Suranjan Das expressed their gratitude and thanks to the university community especially the students for holding the students’ union election peacefully and sustaining the rich legacy of democracy in the campus.