People's Democracy

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


No. 35

September 01,2013


SFI Registers Emphatic Victory

THE Student's Federation of India (SFI) has registered an emphatic victory in the student union elections held in the state of Rajasthan on August 25. Elections were held in nearly 150 colleges and 9 Universities of the state, out of which SFI contested in 85 colleges and 2 universities, spread across 12 districts of the state. SFI candidates have emerged victorious in 67 colleges and the 2 very important University centres of Jodhpur and Bikaner - a big leap forward from last year’s tally of 44 colleges and 1 university.

In a statement issued on August 26, the central executive committee of the SFI congratulated its Rajasthan state unit for this impressive victory.

SFI improved its performance in the Jai Narayan Vyas University of Jodhpur, sweeping the entire panel this time. Mahendra Jakhad has been elected as president, Lakshmi as vice president, and Pramila Meena as general secretary and Madhusudan Gurjar as joint secretary. A total of 8449 votes were polled. SFI candidates defeated NSUI on all 4 posts, with the victory margins being 167,150,371 and 1275 respectively. Jodhpur is a politically important district and is also the constituency of chief minister Ashok Gehlot. The mandate of the University elections has left the ruling Congress party in jittery and orchestrated scenes of violence have been seen on the streets of Jodhpur, injuring 6 students at the time of writing this (August 26).

SFI candidate Ajeet Singh Poonia won the president post in the Maharaja Ganga Singh University of Bikaner, defeating the ABVP candidate by the margin of 26 votes. This is for the first time the SFI has won in Bikaner University. In the Rajasthan University, Jaipur, SFI supported candidate Rajesh Mandia finished third for the post of president with 1098 votes. SFI has also won 3 Department representatives (DRs) in Rajasthan University.

In S K College of Sikar – biggest college of the state, with 13,000 enrolled students – the entire panel of SFI has emerged victorious. Navdeep Singh has been elected as president, Iliyas Ali as vice president, Mahendra Kadiya as general secretary and Sharda Kumari Kalwaniya as joint secretary.

Apart from this, SFI has won 99 per cent of seats in the colleges of Hanumangarh and Ganganagar districts. The old bases in Taranagar, Sardarshahar, Didwana, Jhunjhunu and Churu have been retained with students coming out in large numbers in support of the SFI panels. It has to be mentioned that SFI had lost in Taranagar and Jhunjhunu last year.

In its analysis of the results, SFI CEC felt that certain points clearly emerge from these results. The dominance of the two main students’ organisations of the ruling classes - NSUI and ABVP - has reduced drastically throughout the state. Out of the total 9 Universities in the state, ABVP has won 2, NSUI 1, SFI 2 and the remaining 4 have been won by the independents and local level organizations. This clearly reflects the urge for a credible non-NSUI and non-ABVP alternative, and given the fact that the assembly elections in the state are only few months away, this is going to leave its mark in the assembly elections also.

Further, the growing prestige and strength of SFI has to be seen in the light of the fact that it was the relentless struggle of SFI that led to the revival of the students’ union elections in the state. After the ban on polls during the reign of BJP chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia, SFI was able to build the movement of restoration of campus democracy throughout the state. This forced the Congress CM Ashok Gehlot to keep the demand as one of his pre-poll promises, and after assuming office, he was forced to implement his promise with thousands of students gheraoing the assembly, while the Left MLAs were arguing for it inside the assembly. In the last four years, the performance of SFI has grown by leaps and bounds.

Elected unions of SFI have been role model for any leftist student union, with continuous agitation demanding better infrastructure in the colleges, increase in seats and so on. The movement for increase in seats in the colleges - Paas kiya hai toh pravesh do- has proved to be the most important initiative by the organisation, forcing administration to increase seats at many places. Along with the issues of the students, SFI has also been at the forefront of the struggles of the other sections as well, most glorious being the movement for electricity and water by the farmers. It is this continuous and relentless work that has given organisation the prestige which it today enjoys in the state.

These elections also saw brazen attempts of caste mobilisations by the ruling class and this is going to be the biggest challenge for the organisation in the coming days. We will have to carry forward the mandate of this victory by speeding up the process of building more and more bigger unity of the students. This is the only way ahead in the fight against such forces that seek to maintain and fan the caste tensions.

The SFI CEC expressed confidence that the organisation will gear itself for these new challenges and continue its forward march in the state. The September 10, ‘Dilli Chalo’ rally shall mark another stepping stone in this fight.