People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 29, 2004
Sweeps Himachal University Polls
Students Federation of India (SFI) has swept the Himachal Pradesh University (HPU)
elections by winning all the four main posts by a
huge margin, humbling the
unholy nexus of the Vice-Chancellor ( university administration), the
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the National Students Union of
the elections to the Students Central Association held on August 23, the SFI
also bagged the posts of 23 departmental representatives (DRs) out of
a total of 34.
Bhuppi of the Department of Law won the post of president by a margin of 261
votes . The lone girl candidate Nivriti Mohan from the Department of Journalism
was elected vice-president by a margin of 258 votes.
Neeraj Vasu, again from the Department of Journalism, was elected
Secretary by a margin of
19 votes. Prashant of the Department of Business Administration was
elected joint secretary, his victory margin being 310 votes.
All of them beat their nearest ABVP rivals. The NSUI finished a poor
for DRs, the SFI won five out of six seats in the Department of Laws, both seats
in the Faculty of Management studies and 14 out of 16 in the Faculty of Arts.
successive governments in the state have been unleashing all sorts of moves to
scuttle democracy on the campuses in Himachal Pradesh. Earlier in 1983, the then
had snatched the right of the research scholars to vote.. Since then,
it is only the post graduate students who can vote . Elections were also
banned several times on one pretext or the other. They were restored in 2000 but
with limited democracy. The constitution was changed in such a manner that the
period of debate, discussion and campaign was reduced to only a few days. For
example, the elections this year were declared on
nominations could be filed till August 21 while the date of
elections was August
the candidate elected
once to any of the posts is not eligible to contest again for any of the posts.
The limited democracy was directed at squeezing the right of the students
community. Despite all such odds, the students have overwhelmingly voted in
favour of the forces fighting against these policies.
local as well as state level issues dominated the campaign this time. The SFI
vigourously campaigned against the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recently
signed by the Congress-led state government with the Centre as per the dictats
of the International Monetary Fund. The MOU stipulates, among other things,
that government jobs will have to be reduced by two per cent annually and
more than 35 per cent posts lying vacant in various departments would be
abolished. higher education subsidy would be reduced and agriculture user
charges would be added in service charges
and so on. This will be applicable from
August 31 this year and only then the state would get a grant of Rs 537
SFI printed 40,000
leaflets and brought to light the harmful effects of the MOU. The NSUI came in
its support. The ABVP
opposed but clandestinely lent its support as the MOU was brought in the
Vidhan Sabha by the previous BJP government.
other issues that were highlighted included exorbitantly high fee hike , gender
sensitization The gender sensitisation issue was also highlighted in a planned
manner. Just recently, an incident of throwing acid on the face of a girl
student who was studying in a local girl’s college took place.
The SFI took to the streets and campaigned for the arrest of the culprits
and for forming gender sensitization committees. On the issue of fee hike as
well, the SFI was on the path of struggle.
pattern of voting while clearly showing that SFI is way ahead of ABVP in panel
vote, also gives dangerous signal as in the era of liberalisation,
depoliticisation is also taking place and personalities as against
issues and ideology have started dominating the scene. The SFI has to
take steps to rectify it and has to sharpen its ideological struggle. Above all,
since the polarisation taken place in between the SFI and others, both the ABVP
and NSUI had made it a friendly contest by mutually shifting their votes in the
local colleges of Shimla town.
the state, as well, the SFI has stood first in Shimla, and Sirmour district. Out
of 44 posts, the SFI has won 31 seats in Shimla and six out of eight in Sirmour.
The SFI was able to make clean sweep in RKMV Shimla, Sanjaulli, Rampur College,
which happens to be the home place of the incumbent chief minister, Rekong Peo,
the tribal district and 3 posts in Theog and Nerwa. The SFI was able to win HPU
Evening college Shimla all the four seats after full one decade. The SFI also
emerged victorious in a majority of colleges in Kullu, Kangra and Solan
districts. In both the tribal collegs the SFI remained victorious.
as stated above,
mainly dominated the politics in the colleges, yet large-scale
interference by local goons and leaders, mainly Congress, also took place. In
Chamba district, there was large-scale rigging. On the previous night of
elections the local Youth Congress goons attacked the hostel of Chamba college
where SFI leaders were staying and scared them away. All this happened despite a
written complaint by the warden to the police. But no constable was sent. On the
day of voting the students wearing SFI badges were beaten away and were not
allowed to enter the campus. The terror was of such a nature that even the
candidates who were contesting were not allowed entry in the campus. All this
was being done at the behest of the local minister who is also the Congress MLA.
Similarly tactics were adopted in Hamirpur, Kotshera college, Solan and
all this the students have rebuffed the nefarious designs of the government. The
task of SFI is all the more uphill as in the limited structure it has to carry
the struggle of the students ahead. The challenges are also immense and the SFI
shall have to stand by them.