Students’ issues seem to be far from the agenda of most parties ahead of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union election. All other issues, from dhabas to Damascus, were debated there.
The state’s “crackdown” on women’s freedom, the state of the economy under UPA-II and democratisation of other campuses across the country are among the long list of issues at hand.
The process of filing nominations began on Tuesday morning as Jawaharlal Nehru University readied itself to elect student leaders for the next academic session. But this isn’t just another student union election, which is why JNU enjoys special exceptions from the Lyngdoh Committee Recommendations, according to a Supreme Court order of 2011.
The usual lull on campus is broken by the sound of the dhol and dafli as students’ organisations take each other on to stake more claim in one hostel building or a minimal increase in scholarship or a successful agitation in Jantar Mantar.
“The Indian Republic today is faced with a multi-faceted crisis. The economy is headed towards doom with the rupee witnessing a free fall and a severe slowdown afflicting industry and agriculture. Even as employment situation deteriorates rapidly, inflation stubbornly persists, eating away the real earnings of the working people,” reads the election “parcha” for the Democratic Students’ Forum.
The All India Students’ Association (AISA) that has dominated this Left bastion for many years is raising issues such as repealing of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, minority witch-hunt and compulsory gender sensitisation module to be introduced in the campus. “We are being provided two binaries for the 2014 general elections, one is the face of corruption and corporate loot and the other is the face of communal riots. We refuse to accept both,” a senior AISA member said.
Those in the fray, mostly for the central panel positions (president, vice-president, general and joint secretary) usually go on a room-to-room campaign to convince students that scholarships will increase, that they will have a room to themselves and better food in the hostel mess.
With less than 10 days to go the hot topics for debate were the free fall of the rupee,