Sheila faction sweeps schools' body polls

NEW DELHI OCT. 5. After suffering a setback in the Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) elections, the Congress has managed to regain some lost ground among the teaching community. In the recently concluded prestigious elections of the Government School Teachers' Association (GSTA), the faction supported by the Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, swept the polls and handed out a good drubbing to the Sangh Parivar supported-front.

In fact, the victory of Ms. Dikshit's front is also a setback to the Union Labour Minister, Sahib Singh Verma, as he had openly come out in support of the faction led by Azad Singh, his brother. The Azad Singh group also received active support of the Sangh Parivar and the BJP along with that of the Adhyapak Parishad. Surprisingly, the faction led by another Jat leader and former Outer Delhi MP, Sajjan Kumar, finished a poor third, according to the results released by the GSTA secretary, D.K. Tiwari, and the Returning Officer, R.K. Sharma.

According to the final results, the faction led by the Chief Minister has swept all the posts and emerged victorious at the central and district levels. The GSTA is the only recognised body by the Delhi Government and represents nearly 40,000 government school teachers. It is the body whose elections are conducted time to time by the Education Department of Delhi. In fact, it is for the first time that violence took place during the recently concluded teachers elections and re-polling had to be held in two booths. However, the outcome has been quite pleasing for the Congress party and it has been able to establish its supremacy and hold over the teaching community. While Om Singh was elected as president, Satish Tokas won the post of senior vice-president. Prominent among others who scored comfortable victories included K.K. Ghalot (vice-president), Raj Kishore Sharma (general secretary), D.K. Tiwari (secretary) and B.C. Saxsena (organising secretary).

Four other important posts were also captured by this faction which got the support of the Chief Minister from day one. Interestingly, the elections were to be held in April this year but were postponed for months on some pretext or the other. It was only after Ms. Dikshit took the initiative that the elections were conducted despite protests by the B.K. Nain faction which had the reported support of Mr. Sajjan Kumar.

Meanwhile, insiders in the Congress party have blamed certain AICC leaders for the poor show during the DUSU polls and said a report in this had been submitted to the party president, Sonia Gandhi.

It was pointed out that the Delhi Congress, particularly, the Chief Minister or the State unit was not allowed to play an active role in the elections and everything was handled from the central level. Right from the selection of the candidates to the campaigning, everything was over-seen by the CWC member, Mukul Wasnik, and the political secretary to Congress president, Ambika Soni.

Sources said the biggest blunder during the DUSU polls was to project "beauty'' as the main plank of National Students Union of India (NSUI) which showed the party in poor light and offended voters on the campus. It was felt that all the thrust on beauty and charms and bidding a goodbye to coming out with a proper strategy proved to be the weakest link in the entire chain.

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