The independents, the previous year’s losers and the unknowns held their ground in the Left-dominated show on Saturday during the official presentation of candidates in the fray for the coveted post of president in the Jawaharlal Nehru Students’ Union (JNUSU) polls scheduled for September 14.

The official presentation of candidates is a sort of precursor to the much-awaited “Presidential Debate,” where one’s oral skills can tip the balance between sweeping the elections and losing miserably.

Independent candidate Abhay Kumar earnestly appealed to all his peers to reject all organisations on the campus, be it Left or Right. They were all “opportunist, casteist, sectarian and communal”. They had also made an “unholy alliance” by agreeing for elections according to the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations.

National Students’ Union of India (NUSI) candidate Iqbal Singh explained every failure of the previous JNUSU panel in detail while outlining the achievements of the NSUI.

“This is the most unsuccessful union in the history of JNU. We were responsible for getting wi-fi service in hostels while they only do mere lip service without doing anything concrete… we are working very hard to provide a strong alternative to the Left organisations here.”

Tirades against the All- India Students’ Association (AISA), which had swept last year’s elections, was a favourite topic.

“They are ineffective and inefficient; they hijacked the Yamuna hostel struggle when the students were agitating against their hostel warden,” said Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) candidate Rashmini Anil.

AISA presidential candidate Omprasad did not respond to the attacks but outlined his agenda. “First-year gender sensitisation classes, increase in merit-cum-means scholarship and leading students’ movements against privatisation will be taken up by us.”

“The AISA have started taking the administration line in all their struggles. We don’t need another administration, we need an active students’ union,” said Students’ Federation of India presidential candidate Kopal.

The dissolved SFI, now JNU-SFI spoke, about the history of their alliance with the All-India Students’ Federation while the new and official SFI blamed the JNU-SFI of “electoral opportunism” and said it could not field a candidate for one of the posts as the AISF had walked out of the alliance at the last moment.

JNU-SFI presidential candidate V. Lenin Kumar promised to work towards better infrastructure and health centres among others.

Other candidates in the fray are Vinay Kumar from the All-India Backward Students’ Federation, Khalid Khan from the Campus Front of India and Amit Kumar from Youth For Equality.