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Posted at: Sep 7, 2018, 2:51 AM; last updated: Sep 7, 2018, 2:51 AM (IST)

Post-results, varsity turns red but saffron rises too

Post-results,  varsity turns red but saffron rises too
UILS students come out of a polling centre after casting votes.

Bhartesh Singh Thakur

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 6

It is not just that a woman has become president of the PU Campus Students’ Council for the first time in the PU. It is also unprecedented that a left party, SFS, has won the top post in the council. And also that the ABVP, the student wing of the BJP, put up its best show so far.

Rise of SFS

The SFS started as a discussion group in 2010. It started protests over hike in mess charges in 2012 when the party members observed a hunger strike for 12 days. The next year, the SFS carried out a hunger strike for over four days against fee hike.

In 2014, it protested for about 20 days on the same issue. During the elections, the party had put up a woman candidate, Amandeep Kaur, for the top post. She stood fourth, polling 1,334 votes.

In 2015, a couple of months before the elections, the party raised the issue of sexual harassment of girl students and called for a vehicle-free campus. The party supporters staged a protest for over 12 days. But it did not fight elections that year.

In 2016, the party protested over fee hike for five days. This year, the party gave ticket to Amritpal Singh for the president’s post. He finished close third with 2,494 votes.

In March last year, the SFS won a battle against its archrival ABVP over calling activist Seema Azad on the campus. The PU administration refused permission but the party brought her disguised as a Sikh woman. She addressed the students on the ‘rise of fascism’.

Later, the PU raised the fee in some courses by about 1,000 per cent. The colleges erupted in protest and fire spread to the PU. All parties were protesting, but the SFS took the agitation to a new level. It used to be the major mobiliser of students. But it was on April 11 last year when the stone pelting took place on the campus bringing the party into the limelight.

Over 60 students were arrested. The SFS earned sympathy but lost some supporters too.

Later, the Senate decided to limit the rise in fee to 10 per cent and also decided to take back the case. The SFS claimed the credit for it.

The party persistently taking up students-related issues was fancied by more supporters. Last year, the SFS for the first time contested all the posts in the council. It put up a woman candidate, Hassanpreet Kaur, for the top post. She came second with 2,190 votes.

This year, the party workers started working right from the beginning and targeted freshers. The NSUI was facing anti-incumbency, raising the chances for the SFS.

The party does not use posters, organise panel announcements or lure students with movies, parties or trips. It uses street plays to campaign and relevant issues to mobilise students.

SFS presidential candidate Kanupriya on Thursday polled 2,802 votes and won by a margin of 719.

ABVP move up

The saffron party, ABVP, secured the second highest number of votes polled for the post of the PUCSC president. It also put up its best performance so far.

Of late, the party had been focussing on contesting the president’s post and accepting alliance partners on other seats only. The strategy is paying the party well.

Last year, its presidential candidate Avinash Pandey secured 1,522 votes and came fourth. Pandey belonged to the UIET, which has the highest number of votes.

On Thursday, the party’s presidential candidate Ashish Rana secured a total of 2,083 votes, a rise of over 550 votes from the previous elections.

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