Students oppose banning of Himachal University elections

Shimla: Majority student organisations in the hill state on have opposed all plans to impose a ban on campus elections that has been mooted by Himachal University Vice Chancellor.

Students Federation of India (SFI) organised a big rally in the university campus which was also attended by students from other city colleges, said Kapil Bhardwaj, SFI State President.

ABVP and NSUI have also warned the authorities to desist from adopting the proposed anti-democratic decision of banning student elections.

More than one hundred principals of government and private colleges in the state have seconded the proposal of University Vice Chancellor A.D.N. Bajpai to ban all Central Students Association the university campus and other affiliated colleges.

The Vice Chancellor and other teachers in the university and allied colleges have stated the elections as the main cause for the student violence and frequent strikes in the educational institutions.

Vice Chancellor Prof. Bajpai on his joining the campus last year had also proposed to ban the university teachers from fighting Vidhan Sabha elections and to check their open support to the political parties in these elections.

The Himachal University has various cells of teachers who openly support and provide academic and intellectual inputs to their parent parties.

The political parties also have a big role in appointments and promotions of these teachers and are often seen rewarding their supporters with choicest assignments.

The university authorities have blamed the student organisations for vitiating the academic atmosphere in the institutions and for physically fighting amongst themselves.

But the student organisations do not ascribe to this thesis and claim that since they are questioning the high-headedness and day to day decisions of the authorities, therefore this ban is coming.

“There are numerous cases of violence during all types of elections in a democratic society but we need to check the violence and not ban the elections itself”, said a majority of student leaders, while pledging to oppose the VC’s decision tooth and nail after the formal declaration of a ban.

SFI Protest – Photo Amit

 

ABVP activists burn VCs effigy – Photo: Amit

Himachal University a nursery for State politicians:

The Himachal University that had remained the hot bed of student politics has given many a leaders to the National and State politics.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai was a Himachal University alumni and he never misses an opportunity to address the students on leadership issues here whenever he visits India.

Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and number of young Congress MLAs are a product of this very university.

The entire second line leadership of BJP in Himachal led by its national General Secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda and majority MLAs in Vidhan Sabha were one time activists of ABVP in this university campus.

The complete State Secretariat of CPI-M and the newly elected Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Shimla were active members of SFI during their college and university days here.

All the organisations while arguing on these bases have strongly condemned the decision of current Vice Chancellor for seriously mulling on banning the student elections.

The Himachal University had for a long time remained a citadel of left politics and the BJP supported ABVP has also challenged it many a times.

Even the Congress supported NSUI that has never won an election here after its inception in 1971 has also condemned the VC’s and Principals’ proposal of a ban.

The university is having a fairly good academic atmosphere and hundreds of students qualify the UGC scholarship exams and other competitive exams every year, said Vikram Singh, State SFI Secretary.

“If the students demand more library and better hostel facilities and question the appointments of teachers of a particular ideology while ignoring the merit – the university authorities call it a disturbance and interference in academic pursuits, how far is this true”, he asks.

The NSUI has blamed the VC for buckling under the pressure of RSS and BJP and banning the student elections because of coming Vidhan Sabha elections later this year.

The BJP cannot afford to loose student elections before the assembly elections as it might send bad signals, said Kuldip Rathore Congress General Secretary and a former NSUI leader.

KY Singh is a political observer and a senior journalist with an interest in a diverse set of issues related to Himachal Pradesh and other mountain states. He lives in Shimla.

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