“A revolution is born today,” sings out a clear female voice to the sound of a single drum. It is immediately followed by a chorus so loud it drowns out every conversation in the vicinity, but not for long. “Red salute, red salute, red salute to comrade,” yells out a nearby group wearing identical red jholas – it is election day at Jawaharlal Nehru University on Friday and the voter turn-out is an impressive 58 per cent, even though it has been barely five months since the last election.
A single vote can tip the balance between victory and defeat. This was not lost on any of the candidates as they ceaselessly ran around all the polling centres, close to each other all day long, appealing to every student and trying to get a last-minute vote. “It is really for those who do not have any ideology or for those who have an ideology but have not yet formed a political affiliation in the university,” says a student wearing a paper badge which had the photographs of Che Guevaraand Bhagat Singh, along with her organisation’s stamp – SFI-JNU.
Not to be left behind are the AISA ‘revolutionaries’ who have come up with a new slogan bearing all their central candidates names. There are five polling centres in the university and both these organisations have occupied prime space in front of all of them. Polling begins at 9- 30 a.m. and ends at 5-30 p.m. Neither organisation gives an inch -- be it space or out-shouting and out-singing each other catchy tunes, and songs of the revolution.
“This year may not be a clean sweep for the AISA, the undisputed winners for years now. The whole dissolution of the SFI and creation of the new SFI-JNU has perked people’s interest and they might actually tip the scales… We might also make an impact,” says a smiling Iqbal Singh dressed in white kurta. He it the NSUI presidential candidate and is busy distributing pamphlets, talking to voters or just running from one centre to the other, waving at passersby all the time.
His sentiments are echoed by another organisation, the Youth for Equality, whose members are all dressed in yellow. “When the entire university has no green in the peak of summer, only the yellow Amaltas flower blooms. Likewise, when all the other organisations are falling and weak, we will emerge or at least someone else might this year,” says a member Sakansha.
However, not everyone feels that way. “The AISA will have a thumping victory this time too because the opposition is divided,” says Vikas. “The AISA has my vote, I have been here for just one month and it is the only organisation I know, besides I like their art work,” says Patrick, a first year International Studies student from Poland.
“I was a serious SFI supporter in my college and my loyalties remain the same, no matter who the people in it are,” states Shalini, a first year School of Languages student from Kerala.
“I like the AISA because their slogans are the liveliest, I come here, see who has the better show and give them my vote,” says Stuthi, a Persian Studies student.
Who put up the better show? We will know only on Sunday, if not earlier when the results are declared.
There are a total 27 candidates in the fray for the central students’ union comprising president, vice-president, secretary and joint secretary as well as many candidates for the post of councillors in each school.
Each voter could exercise 11 maximum votes, depending on which School, he or she belongs to.