Accepts election code of conduct prescribed by the Supreme Court

Jawaharlal Nehru University here will have students' union elections within a month as the University General Body Meeting (UGBM) on Monday night accepted the election code of conduct prescribed by the Supreme Court as a condition for lifting its 2008 ban on the polls.

The meeting, attended by all the students' organisations in the university, put the matter to vote and resolved that the elections be conducted with the relaxed recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee that was a pre-condition set by the Supreme Court for lifting its ban, at least for the time being.

“This should be an interim arrangement till the Court case is resolved. The elections should be conducted within one month and the struggle against Lyngdoh recommendations and the restoration of elections according to the university constitution should be continued… this is our main resolution,” said Students' Federation of India vice-president Zico Dasgupta, adding that out of the 489 votes there were only 117 dissenting voices.

“It's sad that a candidate who once stands for elections cannot stand again, as politics is all about losing and winning again and it's a defeatist rule for those who struggle to get nominated within the association by spending years participating in activities like protests against the administration,” said All India Students' Association secretary Sucheta De, whose association had won all four seats in the last election in 2007.

“Many things will be so new with some of the old practices gone, but we are looking forward to it. There are so many things to be done in such a short time,” said National Students' Union of India secretary Iqbal Singh, adding that the Vice-Chancellor had to formally give his approval and a grievance redressal committee constituting of university administration, faculty members and students had to be formed before any formal notification of elections could be issued. “These are all the new guidelines, but the election committee will still be of the students and we are thinking of retaining the old committee.”

Meanwhile, discussions of political manoeuvres and campaigning strategies have already started doing the rounds at the university.

“We are hopeful of our chances as we have spent the last few years resolving so many student issues by taking on the university administration unlike other associations…we already have our campaigning strategy chalked out,” said Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad State secretary Rohit Chahal.

Some mud flinging against the last elected students' union was also due. “The incumbent JNUSU office-bearers from 2007 have thoroughly failed to provide leadership in the struggle for the restoration of JNUSU elections,” alleged Zico Dasgupta.

Elections had been banned by the Supreme Court in 2008 for not adhering to the election code of conduct recommended by the Lyngdoh committee and the case had been languishing in Court until it appointed an amicus curiae, former Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramaniam to settle the matter.

After negotiations with the University's Joint Struggle Committee, the matter went before the Court, which lifted its ban in December and also relaxed certain recommendations of the Lyngdoh committee.