People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIII

No. 35

August 30, 2009

HIMACHAL UNIVERSITY

 

SFI Scores Spectacular Win Despite State Repression

 

Tikender Singh

 

ELECT the ABVP come what may! This was the trumpeted slogan given by the incumbent vice chancellor and the state chief minister in an open meeting held in the Hiimachal Pradesh University (HPU) only a few days before the elections of the students union, called here the Students Central Association (SCA). This meeting was supposed to strengthen the support base for the ABVP, the district administration fell in line with that and did everything it could --- from framing frivolous cases to putting SFI leaders in jail and badly beating some of them in front of students. But exactly the opposite happened: the students community most vehemently rebuffed the diktat and elected the SFI with huge and unprecedented margins for all the four major posts of the SCA.

The SFI swept the SCA polls with Gaurav from the MCA department winning the president post with a margin of over 402 votes. Vinta from MA Economics is the new vice president, winning by a margin of over 159 votes. Kusum, a student of MA Sanskrit, won the post of secretary with a margin of over 300 votes and Pappu Vardhan from the Law department won the joint secretary’s post  with a difference of  368 votes. As for the departmental posts, the SFI bagged 31 and the ABVP just five. The NSUI could cross the 100 mark just in two posts.

The elections to the different HPU affiliated colleges were also held simultaneously. The SFI was able to completely win in the Rajkiya Kany Mahavidyalaya (girls college) in Shimla, HPU Evening College, Theog and Chuari colleges. To the surprise and utter quite unpleasantness to the ruling BJP, the SFI won all the four seats in the Hamirpur College in the chief minister’s hometown. They could win three seats in Nahan College, two each in Solan, Kotshera and Sanjaulli, and won the posts of president in Rajpura, Palampur and Chamba.

In all, the SFI was able to improve its tally and votes since the last year. On the next day of declaration of results, a large mass of students took out a colour full and jubilant procession in the HPU campus.

On the other hand, the ABVP has lost in a number of places. All sorts of tactics were applied by the ruling party to see that their student organisation wins in the state. There was a clarion call to all the principals to ensure that the ABVP become the number one choice. They were scared with the threats of transfer to remote colleges. At places, for example in Hamirpur, a college principal bowed to such dictates and brought fraud voters from a nearby private college of girls which is owned by a BJP leader. But, timely intervention and vigilance by the SFI, foiled their design. Similarly, in Bangana College, the principal did not allow the SFI candidates to file their nomination papers on the plea that they did not reach in time whereas they had reached well 20 minutes in advance to the stipulated time period.

 

THE ISSUES

IN HPU

For the SFI, there is nothing new in winning elections in the HPU and except for once it has been able to win all the elections over the last three decades. But this time the enthusiasm was far more profound. The exhortation made by the vice chancellor and the chief minister had generated far greater interest among the university community including the teachers and employees. The call given was quite sinister. Actually, the BJP’s design is to induct their people in the campus as teachers, as more than 250 posts are lying vacant. But to do that, they have to nullify the Wilson committee’s recommendations that lay stress on merit. This is the single most hurdle for the ABVP leaders as their people do not fall under the meritorious category. The Wilson formula has the backing of the SFI and the elected students union led by the SFI. Hence their moves to see that the SFI is defeated on the campus so that they can move ahead with their knave drive of filling the vacant posts with former ABVP leaders in accordance with the RSS dictates.

So, in connivance with district administration and university authorities, the government left no stone unturned to see that this design materialises. It even organised a scuffle. Though the leaders and activists of the ABVP as well as the SFI were suffered minor injuries in this scuffle, the government as if got a jackpot. It not only charged several SFI leaders with draconian sections like 307 IPC (attempt to murder); new names were also added on daily basis, targeting all those who were becoming active during the course of agitation for the release of leadership. This was being done purposively. Actually, student union elections now are being held under the Lyngdoh committee’s recommendations and one of these is that no non-bailable case must be framed against the contestants, otherwise they would be debarred from the contest. So they filed cases against SFI leaders in a very meticulous way, whereas ABVP leaders were allowed to move free and do whatever they could for the elections.

As if this was not sufficient, the police badly beat up state SFI president Surender Verma and another state SFI’s office bearer Munish who is a student of M Tech. Also, Munish was not allowed to vote though his name appeared in the voters list. He was expelled only the previous night and thus fell a victim to the ruling party’s atrocities.

However, even though the government implicated all prospective SFI candidates under one charge or another and beat some of the leaders, the community of common students was apparently thinking something else. They gave a powerful rebuff to this gameplan. Finally, the ABVP was virtually routed, not just defeated, in the elections by those who were determined that the university is saved from the ill designs of the BJP government.

Now the foremost task before the elected union is to see that the gains are consolidated and to simultaneously resist all efforts of saffronisation of education in the state.