Student union elections will be held in Haryana college and universities after a gap of nearly 22 years.

The education minister Ram Bilas Sharma said on Monday, said these elections will be held before October 15. He said with this, the ruling BJP has thus fulfilled its poll promise made in 2014 Assembly polls.

The Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has given his approval to allow the conduct of student union polls in college and universities, fulfilling a long pending demand of the students, Sharma said.

Student union elections in Haryana would be conducted before October 15 for the current academic session of 2018-19, he said in a statement. A foolproof system will be put in place to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections, it said. Students’ union polls were banned in 1996 by the then Chief Minister Bansi Lal following incidents of violence.

Members of the Indian National Students Organisation (INSO), the INLD’s students’ wing, had been seeking students’ body polls in the state. State Congress chief Ashok Tanwar too had raised the demand of holding these elections. Reacting to the decision of holding student unions polls, INSO chief Digvijay Chautala said that “government is holding indirect polls to student union bodies, which is not acceptable”.

“We will strongly oppose this move of the government. We will be holding a meeting in Chandigarh on October 4 in this regard to decide future course of action,” Chautala told reporters in Delhi on Monday.

He alleged that “government wants to have its control over varsities by having indirect polls. This is violation of rights of the students.” Earlier, the Khattar government had set up a panel headed by Prof Tankeshwar Kumar, vice-chancellor of Guru Jambeshwar University of Science and Technology, to give its recommendations on holding of the student union polls in the state.

As per official figures, there are 227 colleges — 147 government and 80 government aided. Haryana has 12 state government-run universities, four central universities, 28 deemed and 19 private universities. On July 31, Khattar had said students’ union elections will be held in the state’s colleges and universities in two months time, ending a decades-long wait.