Candidates backed by major political parties come a cropper

Candidates supported by major political parties failed to win any of the top posts in the Allahabad University Students’ Union election this year. The only consolation for the major parties came in the win of Satywant Yadav of the Samajwadi Chattra Sabah (SCS), who bagged the post of Cultural Secretary.

The top post last year was won by the candidate backed by the students’ wing of the ruling Samajwadi Party. This time, four of the five seats were won by independent candidates. Kuldeep Singh bagged the president’s post, polling 2,183 votes. He defeated his nearest rival, Rana Yashwant Pratap Singh of the BJP-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, by 166 votes. The SCS candidate, Roshni Yadav, came a distant third, polling 1,575 votes.

The vice-president’s post was bagged by Vipin Singh, an independent, who polled 2,627 votes. The Left-backed All-India Students’ Association candidate Junaid Ali came second.

Gaurav Singh Badal, also an independent, defeated Naveen Kumar Singh ‘Mintu’ of the Congress-backed National Students’ Union of India by 346 votes to become the general secretary.

Another independent, Ankush Yadav, won the post of joint secretary. Often considered the playground of U.P. politics, the varsity has been home to illustrious leaders such as V.P. Singh, Chandrashekhar, N.D. Tiwari, former UP CM Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, Murli Manohar Joshi and Jnaneshwar Mishra.

When the union was restored last year after a gap of seven years, the SCS had bagged the president’s post with AISA winning the vice-president’s post. However, the formation met a premature end as the Allahabad High Court annulled the election of president Dinesh Yadav, who was rusticated. Vice-president Shalu Yadav was suspended for assaulting the Vice Chancellor and general secretary Abhishek Singh has been in jail following his alleged involvement in an incident of firing on another candidate in the run-up to the election last year.

This year the run-up to the polls was relatively peaceful, but students campaigned vociferously flouting political colours. Though Lyngdoh Commission proposals stipulate that the candidates not spend more than Rs. 5,000 on campaigning, candidates admitted that they spent lakhs of rupees. “Our candidate spend over Rs. 10 lakh. The party itself gave us Rs. 3 lakh. What kind of campaigning can be done with Rs. 5,000 in such a competitive atmosphere,” a SP student leader asked.

The candidates get a single shot at the posts, thus intensifying competition. “It’s a do-or-die scenario. So everybody goes all out, be it spending outrageous amounts of money,” the SP leader said.

The polls were held on November 26.