With Panjab University and its affiliated colleges prepping for the Panjab University Student Council (PUCSC) elections after a hiatus of two years, the campuses are abuzz with political activity. Be it classrooms or hostels, party leaders are busy mobilising students on issues local as well as national.
But, there are also challenges being faced by the members of student bodies in pitching the students about their organisation as not only the freshers but even many of the existing students will be witnessing the student council polls for the first time.
Sharing his strategy to convince voters, Madhav Sharma from PU’s Students Organisation of India (SOI) unit, aligned with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), said, “Due to the pandemic, the schedule of PU is running late by a month, as a result of which we are facing various challenges in our day-to-day campaigning. It’s not about pitching to just the new batch but others from senior batches as well.”
At present, his team is reaching out to classrooms and hostels where they listen to the problems faced by students.
Students for Society (SFS) is seeking votes on “revolutionary principles”. Sandeep from SFS said, “SFS works on the ideologies of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, revolutionaries of the Gadar Movement and Baba Bujha Singh to mobilise the students for revolutionary transformation of the society. We fight against privatisation of education, and patriarchal, undemocratic and autocratic university authorities. We promote critical thinking among students by holding debates, discussions and protests on issues concerning students and wider oppressed and exploited sections of our society.”
Punit Masitan from INSO said they are interacting with students to know their issues, which will be part of their manifesto.
Another student leader Munishwar Sharma from National Students Union of India (NSUI) affiliated with Congress, said, “Elections in PU are like festivals. Different parties use issues to gather voter interest, but our student body lays emphasis on university issues first that directly affect the students”.
The same energy as PU can be felt in the colleges as well. Pratham Singla from SD College’s ABVP unit sharing his concern about the challenges faced by parties to convince students, especially freshers, said, “There are members of certain student bodies that try to forcefully ask students to put their stickers on shirts making students shy away from the election process. This also makes it difficult for other parties to convince students to take part in student politics.”
Authorities in some colleges such as Post Graduate Government College (PGGC), Sector 11, and SD College, have imposed a ban on the use of printed materials such as stickers, ahead of the polls, with SD College prohibiting students from canvassing before the “scheduled dates” on its campus.