Chandigarh: The student wing of the Congress, the National Students Union of India (NSUI), won the prestigious presidential position of the Panjab University Campus Student’s Council (PUCSC) Wednesday, wresting the seat from the Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS), the youth wing of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Jatinder Singh, a PhD student in the department of chemical engineering, won the position, securing 3002 of 10263 votes. Divyansh Thakur of the CYSS stood second with 2399 votes and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) candidate, law student Rakesh Deshwal, was in third position with 2182 votes. ABVP is affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological fountainhead of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Over 200 votes were polled for NOTA.
Last year ABVP turncoat Ayush Khatkar had won the president’s post as a CYSS candidate, creating history. It was the first time that the AAP’s student’s wing had contested the university elections.
The last time the post of the PUCSC president was won by the NSUI was in 2017.
Talking to ThePrint Brinder Dhillon, former president of the Punjab Youth Congress who is credited with having made NSUI a part of student elections in the university 10 years ago, said that the NSUI’s victory was the result of an organised campaign centred around the phrase “students versus sarkaar [government]”.
The AAP is currently in power in Punjab.
“This is the trailer for what is in store for the Aam Aadmi Party in the parliamentary elections,” said Dhillon. He said it was a befitting reply to the AAP cabinet ministers who were monitoring the CYSS campaign. “These ministers had parked themselves in a house in Sector 15 [Chandigarh] which is just a stone’s throw away from the university and were guiding their student leaders on an hourly basis and yet they lost,” claimed Dhillon.
Following the win, NSUI released a statement saying it would “like to thank the student community for reposing their faith in us and giving a decisive mandate for constructive politics in Punjab University. This election was fought by the students against the policies of the government. This victory is a clear sign that the students and youth of Punjab University have rejected the politics of division; the ideology of hatred and the anti-student policies of the government.”
It added: “On the eve of the first anniversary of the historic Bharat Jodo Yatra [led by Rahul Gandhi last year], the students and youth of Punjab University have opened a “Mohabbat ki Dukaan” [shop of love, a phrase repeatedly used by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi] and have sent a clear message to the regime that they stand for love, brotherhood and progress. The NSUI would like to thank all its workers and leadership. It is a victory of their hard work and unity. Tomorrow the NSUI will organise a “Mohabbat Ki Yatra” [Journey of Love] in which we will pay tribute to the martyrs who laid down their lives for our beloved nation.”
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Jatinder Singh originally from Bathinda has been living in Chandigarh for the past 10 years and was associated with the ABVP before joining the NSUI.
There were nine candidates in the race for the president’s post, which is the most keenly contested position.
Yuvraj Garg, a combined candidate for the Student Organisation of India (SOI, the youth wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal), Indian National Students Organisation (INSO, the student wing of the Jannayak Janata Party) and the Himachal Pradesh Students Union (HPSU), lost despite being among the strong contenders for the position. The SOI had won the position of PUCSC president in 2018.
Four candidates each were in the fray for the post of vice president, secretary and joint secretary of PUCSC.
The INSO alliance retained its hold on the general secretary’s post, which they had won last year as well. Deepak Goyat, a student of the department of law, won the post, securing 4431 votes. ABVP candidate Avinash Yadav was in the second place with 2620 votes.
Gourav Chahal, a BTech student and candidate of the ABVP- Punjab University Helping Hands (PUHH) alliance, won the position of joint secretary with 3140 votes, while Ramneekjot Kaur, a BDS student of candidate of SATH, an erstwhile discussion group turned student party, won the position of the vice president with 4084 votes.
Both positions had been won by the NSUI last year. This year, however, the NSUI had decided to contest on no other seat except of that of the president.
The NSUI along with INSO and the Himachal Pradesh Students Union (HPSU) had stitched an alliance ahead of the polls, but that came apart within a day following differences between their leaders. INSO and HPSU then tied up with SOI, and declared combined candidates.
The CYSS had tied with the Himachal Student’s Union (HIMSU) for the elections.
(With inputs from Amogh Rohmetra)
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)
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