‘Students should have the right to have opinions different from those of their parent political party’
The rebel emerged the victor and political equations remained firmly rooted to the Left at Jawaharlal Nehru University, with the Students’ Federation of India-JNU (formed by expelled members of the CPI (M) affiliated SFI) wresting control of the top post of president by a overwhelming majority from its powerful opponent, the All India Students’ Association, which won the remaining three posts in the students’ union poll results declared here on Sunday.
“SFI-JNU’s V. Lenin Kumar defeated his opponent, AISA’s Omprasad, by 212 votes. Lenin polled 1,446 votes while Omprasad polled 1,233 votes,” said Election Committee chairperson Chandan.
“I am going to fight for students’ rights both inside and outside the campus,” said a beaming Lenin, who is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in International Studies, explaining that even though the other three posts were still controlled by their rivals, he did not see it as an impediment to struggle for students’ right.
Lenin had seen previous two elections in which the SFI had lost; and this time’s victory was dearer as he had just been expelled from the SFI after being a comrade with them for 14 years. “Students should be allowed to have some autonomy, some informed opinions that are different from that of whichever national political party that they are affiliated to, we are going to hold a convention in the coming months to drive home this point,” he added.
The SFI-JNU, whose members until few months ago were the key players in the SFI, had last seen victory in 2006. “We had won the president and joint secretary post back then and in 2005 had won all posts except that of the president. However, in the 2007 and March 2012 elections we faced a thumping defeat,” said expelled SFI Delhi State Committee president Roshan Kishore, who was also a former contestant for the president’s post in the JNUSU under the SFI’s banner.
The original SFI’s presidential candidate, still affiliated to the CPI (M), finished eighth with 109 votes. “The resounding victory of the SFI-JNU … reflects what the politically-conscious student community of JNU made out of the entire affair,” said a statement of the SFI-JNU. It had fought the election in alliance with the CPI affiliated AISF and also won five councillor seats.
The post of vice-president was grabbed by AISA‘s Minakshi Buragohain by a margin of 920 votes. She polled 1,816 votes against her nearest AISF’s Rahul Maurya who polled 896 votes.
The new JNUSU general secretary AISA’s Shakeel Anjum won the post by a margin of 980 votes. He polled 1,719 votes against AISF’s Kunwar Sudhanshu Lal who polled 739 votes. The joint-secretary’s post was clinched by AISA’s Piyush Raj by a margin of 139 votes. He polled 1,566 votes against his nearest rival SFI-JNU’s Ruchira Sen who polled 1427 votes.
Another surprise factor was the performance of non-Left and independents, whose loss margins were much lesser that the previous election. Independent candidate Abhay Kumar polled third with 358 votes. His mention of the “Beef and Pork Festival” in his election campaign had almost resulted in his disqualification. “My fight against caste, gender injustice and other democratic issues will continue,” he said. National Students’ Union of India’s presidential candidate Iqbal Singh came fourth. “The vote share of NSUI overall has increased despite the decreased voting figures,” he said.
Last year, the AISA had swept all four posts, with the presidential candidate defeating her nearest rival, by a colossal margin of 2,000 votes.
The victorious SFI-JNU will be taking out the traditional “ Juloos” or victory march from the Ganga Dhaba on Monday. The oath-taking ceremony will also be completed on Monday.