People's Democracy

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


No. 36

September 04, 2011



SFI Sweeps HPU Polls with Still Higher Margins


Vijender Mehra


THE Students Federation of India (SFI) has once again swept the Students Central Association (SCA) elections in the Himachal Pradesh University (HPU), based in Shimla. This time, moreover, the SFI has won the election with historical record margins.




These elections were held at a time when there was strong anti-Left campaign in our country by the unholy alliance of extreme Left and extreme right ideologies. The student organisations belonging to the ruling class parties also tried to cast doubts on the validity of Marxism and the Left ideology. The RSS-patronised Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) initiated a debate in the HPU campus on the future of the Left ideology and asked the students community to defeat the SFI. The logic behind such an appeal was that the Left had faced defeat in the West Bengal legislative assembly elections, that the Left bastion has fallen. This they construed in a twisted way, saying the Left has lost its relevance in India.


But the enlightened students community of the HPU rejected this logic and gave a serious blow to the proponents of this theory by making the SFI victorious with highest ever margin in the history of the HPU over the last 32 years. This victory once again reflects the validity and importance of left ideology.  The results of this year’s SCA selections are nothing new but only repetition of the legacy which SFI inherits since last 32 years. The slogan of “Study, Struggle and Sacrifice” once again caught the imagination of students community and the record margin created during the last year’s SCA election was broken within a year. The margin of victory is so high that the ABVP, supported by the BJP government, could not even manage votes equal to the margins gained by the SFI. 


Also, the SFI has won the highest ever number of departmental representatives (DR) posts.


In these elections, the SFI has won all the four seats of the central panel with comfortable margins. The student community has thus fully rejected the ABVP. Further, while the SFI won 42 posts of departmental representatives out of 44, the ABVP could manage only 2. Had the teachers illegally appointed by the BJP government in the Physical Education and Tourism departments not threatened the students of these departments, the SFI would have probably won all the 44 department representatives posts and the ABVP would have been completely swept away.


The SFI has managed to clean-sweep the Arts, Science, Management, Law and Education faculties.




The presidential candidate from the SFI panel, Puneet Dhaunta, got elected by a historical margin of 536 votes. Lokender Kumar of the SFI was elected vice president by a margin of 673 votes. Hoshiyar Singh, candidate for the secretary’s post, won by 676 votes. Manju Thakur got elected as joint secretary by a margin of 585 votes.     


The details are given in the table alongside.  


Sr No

Name of Office

Total Votes Polled











Vice  President












Joint Secretary






Compared to the last year’s SCA elections, the SFI has gained throughout the state. But its biggest victory has been in the chief minister’s home constituency of Hamirpur where the BJP unleashed state terror but yet the ABVP, its student wing, could not savour victory. The SFI has gained in 3 out of 6 colleges in the chief minister’s home district.


In Kangra, the largest district of the state, the SFI has gained as compared to the last year. It has registered victory in the DAV College of Kangra, which is one of the most prestigious colleges in the state. The SFI has won for first time in Dehri college of Kangra district.


In Mandi district, after many years, the SFI has once again gained by winning in the Sarkaghat, Lambathach and Jogindernagar colleges. Likewise, the organisation has secured victory in the Kullu college after a long span of time. The organisation has once again registered victory in Chamba and Chuvari colleges. In Shimla, the state capital, the results were a repetition of the organisation’s historical legacy. It has once again got victory in the RKMV, the only girls college and one of the largest colleges in the state. Likewise, the organisation has won elections in Theog, Rampur and HPU Centre of Evening Studies in Shimla, and also in Sanjauli, Fagli, Kotshera, Rampur and Tungish colleges. The SFI has once again restored its position in the Bhatoli College in Una district.  




Though the BJP government tried its level best to ensure the victory of its student wing, the ABVP, the students community gave a serious blow to its heinous designs. Not only the ABVP’s tally of seats came down as compared to the last year; its vote share too fell down drastically. This year the performance of the ABVP has been its worst over the last 11 years.  


The BJP government unleashed state sponsored terror on the opponent organisations and specially the SFI. The chief minister himself was keen about winning these elections and left no stone unturned to ensure it. The situation in the CM’s home constituency was virtually like an emergency. A numbers of frivolous cases were registered against leaders of the SFI. The chief minister’s son and national president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha was in command of the ABVP campaign. The principal of Hamirpur College too went from one class to another, asking the students to vote for the ABVP. But all such tactics were rejected by the students community.


The state government and the chief minister had made it an issue of prestige to win elections. They had passed instructions to the BJP cadre that the ABVP must register victory in HPU Shimla and in Hamirpur College at any cost. To ensure its victory in HP University at Shimla, the ABVP on the instructions of the BJP government attacked some leaders of the SFI on August 8, 2011. Only a little before it, ABVP people had pelted stones on SFI activists in which around 45 students were injured.


On the election day too, some SFI leaders were attacked by ABVP leaders in the Evening College. Similar kinds of attacks were organised by the ABVP in Sujanpur, Chakmoh, Rajpur, Kangra, Palampur, Dehri, Bhatoli, Mandi, Sarkaghat, Jogindernagar, Karsog, Solan, Nahan, Kullu, Hamirpur, Sanjauli, Kotshera etc. in fact the ABVP was given a free hand by the state government and the police and administration.


In sum, they did everything to win the elections. There was a pre-planned murderous attack on SFI state secretary Vijender Mehra in which he got multiple injuries; one of his teeth was broken. Fake cases were registered against 37 SFI activists of Kotshera and the Evening College and they were put behind bars for 24 days. In a majority of violence related cases, no FIR was registered against the ABVP. In fact, the repression and terror tactics of the ABVP and state government continue even after the elections. ABVP leaders attacked the victory rally of the SFI on election day in HPU in which 14 students were injured; 2 out of them were still in hospital while writing these lines and had been operated. Same kind of attacks were executed after elections by ABVP in Sanjauli, Kotshera, Bhotoli and the Evening College




These attacks by the BJP government and ABVP leaders on SFI leaders were executed with the thinking that SFI is the main hurdle in their way of privatisation and commercialisation of education. The BJP government is all set to destroy the education system. Some 24 private universities have been opened in this small state of HP. Perhaps this is the highest number throughout the country. The Dhumal government is following the principle of “Bring Money, Get Education.” Around 110 SCVT private technical institutes and 79 private BEd colleges have also been opened in the state. The owners of a majority of these colleges are either former ABVP leaders or BJP leaders. These colleges are looting the students. The SFI has launched a vigorous and continuing struggle against this loot and is thus the main enemy in the eyes of the BJP government which fully knows that the SFI is the main hurdle in their drive of commercialisation of education. Hence its attempts to curb the democratic movement led by the SFI.


The HPU Shimla is known for its academics and research standards. The university got 31st position among around 500 universities in the country in a survey. This could become possible due to the hard work put in by its students, employees and teachers. This is also a well known fact that the second highest number of NET and JRF qualifiers in the country this year came from this university, next only to JNU in New Delhi.


But the BJP government is continuously following its agenda of saffronisation, corruption and nepotism. Recruitments in the university are being done purely on the basis of adherence to saffron ideology, denying merit. The university has become a hub of corruption and nepotism. Its autonomy is at stake. 


Commercialisation of education has become a common phenomenon. Recently a massive fee hike was effected in colleges. Vacant posts of teachers are either not being filled up or being filled up on contract basis. There was no raise in the budget of colleges and the university. Basic infrastructure is lacking. But the government is not putting serious efforts to save higher education. Rather, private universities are mushrooming.


The SFI had made the commercialisation of education an important agenda in the SCA elections. Its election manifesto highlighted all these points and also the role of the BJP government in making education a saleable commodity. It was on the basis of its manifesto that the students community has once again reposed its faith in the SFI, giving a serious blow to the anti-student policies of the BJP government. The following were the issues which were included in the SFI’s election manifesto.


1) Stop to commercialisation and privatisation of education.

2) Halt to opening of private universities.

3) Increase in the budget of HPU and affiliated colleges.

4) Appointment on vacant posts of teaching and non-teaching staff.

5) Provision of proper infrastructure in colleges and HPU.

6) Restoration of the autonomy of HPU.

7) Stop to saffronisation of education.

8) Strengthening the Executive Council, Academic Council and departmental councils.

9) Stop to misuse of student funds.

10)  Establishment of a Bhagat Singh Chair in HPU.

11) End to the loot of students in the name of self-financing and NRI seats.

12) An end to the neo-liberal policies.