People's Democracy

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


No. 01

January 02, 2011



SFI Wins Two Senate Seats


 Bhausaheb Zirpe


TWO months after winning the Student Council election held on September 27, 2010 in the prestigious Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University at Aurangabad in Maharashtra (a victory reported in these columns earlier), the Students Federation of India (SFI) won both the seats in the university’s Senate last month on November 23 after a bitter struggle. The election this year assumed added importance since the new university Senate will soon elect the new Management Council of the university.


The present system of the Senate election to the university is as follows: After students of the 395 colleges affiliated to the university elect their Student Parliament secretaries, 15 of them in the order of merit are elected. In proportion to the number of affiliated colleges, five out of these 15 are from Aurangabad district, four from Beed district and three each from Jalna and Usmanabad districts. (These are the four districts where the colleges are affiliated to the university.) These 15 secretaries then elect a president and a secretary, who then become the two student members of the University Senate.


This year, it was the first time that the SFI fielded its nominees for both these posts while an education baron belonging to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) from Usmanabad district individually sponsored rival candidates for both these posts. The NCP’s student wing called the Rashtrawadi Vidyarthi Congress (RVC), the RSS-led Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the student wing of the RPI (Athavale group) also fielded their nominees. All of them united with the singular aim of defeating the SFI.


During the scrutiny of the nomination papers, however, the nomination forms of the RVC, the ABVP and the RPI student wing were all rejected, because the candidates of the NCP and RPI student wings had themselves proposed and seconded the nomination forms of the ABVP candidates. This foolish act exposed the unholy nexus between the three organisations.


This resulted in a straight fight between the SFI on the one hand and NCP education baron-sponsored candidates on the other. Tellingly, all the anti-SFI forces rallying behind the latter mentioned candidates. The SFI projected this contest as a straight fight between the students community and the rapacious private education barons of the state.


Efforts now began to force the SFI to withdraw its candidates, but the SFI did not budge. Hence, on November 15, 2010, the last day of the withdrawal of nominations, the anti-SFI forces engaged hoodlums of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS led by Raj Thackeray) who physically attacked SFI activists Atul Chourpagar, Sunil Rathod and Farukh Shaikh. These SFI activists were severely injured. The hoodlums were arrested by the police and the vice chancellor called for their externment. The SFI replied to this attack by mobilising the students community against violence and in defence of democracy.


Triumphing over this culture of physical violence and the threats given to the 15 voters by the education baron lobby and the NCP legislators, both the SFI candidates won the election to the president and secretary posts by a margin of 8 to 7. This was the first victory of the SFI in the university Senate. Sandip Devkar from Aurangabad was elected president and Shaikh Zakeria from Beed was elected secretary. Both of them are activists of the Aurangabad SFI.


The SFI activists who worked indefatigably for this victory included Bhausaheb Zirpe, Sunil Rathod, Farukh Shaikh and Atul Chourpagar. Others who made valuable contributions were Dr Maroti Tegumpure, Yogesh Khosre, Pandit Shinde, Govind Dumne, Hanuman Lavhale, Rupesh Deshmukh and Manisha Nagargoje. It was their efforts that resulted in this historic victory.