Students bodies owing allegiance to united Left parties have swept the JNU students’ union elections by winning all four posts.
The right-wing student body ABVP faced a near annihilation despite their attempts to make this an issue of nationalism.
Satapurta Chakrabaorty, the only girl in the newly elected panel, polled 2,424 votes, defeating Vijay Kumar by a margin of 1,094 votes for the post of General Secretary.
Amal PP won the Vice Presidential post with the highest margin of 1,304 votes, defeating Ravi Ranjan Choudhary.
Celebrations broke out on JNU campus as soon as the results were announced where students danced to the beats of traditional daflis with gulal smeared over their faces amid chants of “azaadi”.
Kanhaiya, who had an eventful tenure as the JNUSU president, congratulated his successor.
“The nation wants to know..” What happened to #ABVP in #JNUSUPolls? #ShutDownJNU became #ShutDownABVP(sic),” he tweeted.
Last year, Left-affiliated All India Students Federation (AISF) had opened its account in the JNUSU polls winning the president’s post, while RSS’ student wing ABVP bagged one of four central panel slots after a gap of 14 years.
The Left-affiliated groups have been locked in a battle with ABVP over dominance of their respective ideology on the campus in aftermath of the February 9 incident during which anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, leading to arrest of three students, including the outgoing JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, in a sedition case.
For the first time, the CPI(ML)’s student wing All India Students’ Association (AISA), which has enjoyed a strong hold on the campus for years, formed an alliance with the Student Federation of India (SFI) of the CPI(M).
The alliance also emerged victorious on 30 out of 31 seats for councillors. ABVP won only one councillor seat from Department of Sanskrit.
Giving a tough fight to the Left-Unity was Birsa Ambdekar Phule Students Association (BAPSA) which was on the second position for the Presidential post while ABVP was the second runner for the post of Vice President and General Secretary.
“Mohit Pandey of Left-Unity alliance has been elected as the JNUSU president, defeating Rahul Sonpimple of BAPSA by a margin of 409 votes.
“Amal Pipli, Satapurta Chakraborty and Tabez Hussain have emerged victorious on the posts of Vice President, General Secretary and Joint Secretary, respectively,” said Ishita Mana, the Chief Election Commissioner for JNUSU polls.
Students Front for Swaraj (SFS), the student wing of AAP’s breakaway group Swaraj Abhiyan, made its debut this year by fielding its candidates for the four crucial central panel posts in the varsity but failed to open its account.
Other organisations which had fielded their candidates in the JNU polls include Congress’ National Students Union of India and Democratic Students Federation (DSF), a breakaway group of SFI.
DSF’s Joint Secretary candidate Pratim Ghoshal gave a tough fight to Left-Unity’s Tabrez Hasan but lost the election a margin of 362 votes. While Tabrez got 1,670 votes, a total of 1,308 voters chose Pratim.
A total of 1,140 students exercised the None of The Above (NOTA) option.
Several high profile BJP leaders including Shahnawaz Hussain and MP Mahesh Girri this year had tweeted asking students to elect ‘nationalists’ in this year’s elections.
— Shahnawaz Hussain (@ShahnawazBJP) September 8, 2016
As voting continues for Student Union elections in DU & JNU, I once again appeal all students to vote @ABVPVoice candidates.
— Maheish Girri (@MaheishGirri) September 9, 2016
This was the first election since 9 February protests in the campus, where the then JNU Students’ Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar and his other friends including Umar Khalid and Anitban Bhattacharya were accused of chanting anti-India protests.
They were sent to Tihar jail, but later released on bail.
JNU student union elections which have been keenly contested over the decades had many firsts this year from the first-ever woman election commissioner to several political outfits making their debut.
“It is for the first time that a girl has been appointed as the Chief Election Commissioner for student union polls which is a good start,” a JNUSU member said.
For the first time All India Students Association, the student wing of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and Students Federation of India (SFI) formed an alliance for JNU polls which has been named as “Left Unity”.
Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, who were arrested along with Kanhaiya in the sedition case, were also seen cheering for the winners of the Left alliance dancing around a dummy corpse with ABVP written on it.
A total of 18 candidates tested their electoral fortunes for the Central Panel and 79 were in fray for the post of councillors.
The JNUSU polls, a keenly fought contest, have been hogging more limelight this year against the backdrop of the sedition row.
CPI-affiliated All India Students Federation (AISF), of which Kanhaiya is a member, did not contest the polls this time.
The campus which has been Left-dominated over the years, saw RSS’ student wing ABVP securing a seat in the central panel last year, making a comeback in JNU after a gap of 14 years.
(With PTI inputs)