JNU chooses Red over Saffron
JNU students rebut ABVP takeover of the campus in a crucial election. However, the right-wing student organisation has emerged a strong contender
Students of Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU) reposed their faith in the Left in the student body election knowing fully well what a saffron-tinted campus would mean - a systematic assault on Left intelligentsia and a continuous effort to malign anti-establishment thinkers and writers.
In a closely-contested election, students of the University, elected Red over saffron. With the Left Unity bagging all four seats in the central panel, the ABVP rise in the campus has been checked, for now.
For the post of the President, Geeta, the Left Unity (AISA-SFI-DSF) candidate polled 1,506 votes. The runner-up from ABVP (RSS's student organisation), Nidhi Tripathi, polled 1,042 votes.
The Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association (BAPSA), which was seen as an alternative to the Left came third. BAPSA presidential candidate, Shabana Ali polled 935 votes.
In what remained a triangular contest, Aparajita Raja, daughter of CPI leader, D Raja could garner only 416 votes. Though she was considered to be a strong candidate for the post of the president, Left supporters were not favourable to her candidature.
Many students conceded that Aparajitha cut the Left votes, thus, creating a space where ABVP could have won the presidential post in the central panel, but JNU students were mindful of the consequences so they voted for Left Unity.
Contrary to the prevailing perception, there was division of votes among ABVP votes also. A former president of the JNUSU told National Herald that Left Unity has performed well in the the School of Physical Sciences (SPS) traditionally considered as an ABVP stronghold.
“Actually, there were many aspirants in the ABVP camp. Many of them revolted and contested against the official nominee so their votes got divided,” he stressed.
For the post of Vice President, Left Unity candidate Simone Zoya Khan polled 1,876 votes while Durgesh Kumar from ABVP polled 1,028 votes. BAPSA’s nominee Subodh Kunwar ranked third with 910 votes.
In a similar vein, Left Unity candidates who stood for the post of General Secretary and Joint Secretary, recorded an impressive lead in the vote share. While Left Unity polled 2,028 votes for the post of General Secretary, ABVP lagged far behind with 975 votes.
University burst in to joy after final results were announced. Celebration was followed by a procession and a brief speech by the Left leaders.
Former Joint Secretary of the JNU student union, Kavita Krishnan tweeted pictures of the winners. In a series of tweets she slammed ABVP for spreading fake news claiming ABVP victory in the election.
Five takeaways from JNUSU elections
Two years after the Afzal controversy and consequent arrest of the former president Kanhaiya Kumar, the five takeaways from the student union election results are:
- A woman has been elected to the post of the president in the JNUSU election after a gap of five years. All major student organisations nominated women candidates for the post of the President.
- ABVP scoring second in presidential election highlights that the right wing has consolidated its base in the University.
- Idea of complete Left unity is still a distant reality, as CPI’s student organisation AISF contested separately.
- Ambedkarite student organisation has emerged as a strong force that will only cut Left share in the university.
- If all Left, liberal, progressive forces come together, the right wing can be defeated in the elections. The prescription can be used in case of national politics as well.
- Kavita Krishnan
- Left Unity
- Jawahar Lal Nehru University
- Ambedkar Phule Students Association
- Aparajita Raja