The drum beats were sporadic and so was the energy and singing in the enclosure outside the School of International Studies on Sunday evening, where counting for the central panel of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union had been going on for almost three days now, after the university went to the polls on Friday. The School of Languages (SL), the biggest vote bank in the campus with about 1,500 votes, was taken up last for counting around 5 p.m.
“They started counting at 10 a.m. on Friday itself, and after that it has been really slow. There was also some issue with the SSS ballot boxes – three of them did not have a wax seal and some people objected. The discussion regarding what had to be done took about five hours of counting time. Another factor is that the SL usually takes about 14 hours to finish,” said Sandeep, president of the All India Students’ Association, which was leading in the top three positions by a huge margin.
“Our presidential candidate Akbar Chaudhary is leading with 1,115 votes, vice-president Anubhuti Agnes Baba is leading with 1,267 votes and secretary Sandeep Saurav is leading with 892 votes,” said Praveen, an AISA member in-charge of keeping track of the vote count. The AISA has also won 14 of the 26 available councillor seats.
The Democratic Students’ Federation, however, was leading in the post of joint secretary with its candidate Sanam Goyal polling 1,227 votes against AISA’s Safaraz Hamid who polled 1001 votes. However, the AISA was confident that even this post will go to them. “The SL is where I am from and in the last elections I was voted a councillor here with about 470 votes or so. This year the number will increase, in fact the winning margin is so low that I am surely going to win,” said Safaraz.
Some among the second leading DSF said that the SL is a big centre and the votes might just tilt in their favour as they also have a good standing there, but the AISA was confident that the school would vote in their favour. “We have always had good support from this school and already the margins by which we are leading is so huge. This trend cannot take such a sharp turn, it is not possible for us to lose any of the positions now,” said AISA’s Anubhuti.
The other student associations, however, did not feel the same way although it was the AISA that were doing the most cheering whenever the results were being announced every one hour or so. “The SL is an important school because of the numbers and nobody can say exactly how the vote will be,” said former JNUSU president and DSF member Lenin Kumar.
The DSF was running second for the president and vice-president’s post but the surprise factor was the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s president’s toll which had 422 votes, only 44 less than DSF’s Ishan Anand who polled 466. For the general secretary post, the National Students’ Union of India was a surprise at the number two position with 517 votes.
Results are expected by 6 a.m. on Monday.