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Posted at: Sep 8, 2018, 12:25 AM; last updated: Sep 8, 2018, 12:25 AM (IST)

Girl power in PU

Student council heralds a turn to issue-based politics
Girl power in PU

It  was a historic moment when a girl candidate, Kanupriya, was for the first time declared elected president of the Panjab University Students Council (PUSC), Chandigarh, on Thursday. Considering that girls constitute more than 60 per cent of the university's student strength and that they have been dominating in academic proficiency and related fields for quite some time now, it has taken a long time for this citadel to be stormed. The university, which traces its roots to 1882 when it was established as the University of Punjab in Lahore, is one of the oldest in the country and the most prestigious north of Delhi. It has been the nursery of many a politician. 

This crowning glory for Kanupriya comes with added responsibilities and expectations. She defeated the candidates of the other established political formations backed by the BJP, Akalis, Congress and INLD. The affable girl won the confidence of her peers as she went from department to department, from one hostel room to another, seeking votes by promising to resolve their issues. Being a candidate of the Students For Society (SFS) — just an eight-year-old leftwing student organisation — matters of fee hike and hostel room allotment and opposition to privatisation are close to her heart. Her simple mode of canvassing that shunned such allurements as free meals, movies and masti for fellow mates was a refreshing change from the gimmicks that have become the mainstay of PU politics. The girls can hope for safer environs in PU as their representative speaks of intolerance to the 'gheri route', which is, at times, an excuse for harassment. 

Kanupriya's real test begins now as she attempts to balance the difficult task of bringing on board the other PUSC office-bearers, owing allegiance to different parties: the vice-president and secretary are from the Akali-backed Students' Organisation of India alliance; and joint secretary from the Congress-controlled NSUI. But seen from a larger canvas, the PU results are a pointer to better times, where the youth are driven by issues rather than rhetoric. The large number of youngsters voting for NOTA should up the ante of political parties gearing up for the 2019 poll. 

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