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Varsity fever to pick leaders of choice Unions fume at poll panel rules

The first meeting of Patna University (PU)ís six-member committee to assess modalities of conducting the studentsí union poll was held on Thursday amid protests by many studentsí bodies.

The committee, which was formed last week and is headed by studentsí welfare dean Ejaz Ali Arshad, discussed how they would fulfil the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee. A committee member, preferring anonymity, said: ďApart from the Lyngdoh committee recommendations, the panel will go through the papers that the state government had sent to the varsity administration for holding the polls.Ē

Members of JD(U) studentsí wing National Studentsí Union of India (NSUI), All India Studentsí Association (AISA) and All India Students Federation (AISF) staged a demonstration in front of the main administrative building of the university and blocked the main entrance, preventing teachers and employees from entering the varsity premises.

State president of the JD(U) studentsí wing Ranjan Kumar, spearheading the agitation, said: ďThe university should come clear about holding the studentsí body polls. Till date, the university has not finalised the date of holding the studentsí body poll.Ē Ranjan claimed that most members of the studentsí union are not ready to accept the recommendations of the Lyngdoh committee and if studentsí body polls are to held, guidelines must be altered to allow large number of students to take part in the polls.

However, PU vice-chancellor Shambhu Nath Singh said: ďWe are bound to hold the studentsí body poll as per the recommendations of Lyngdoh committee as we donít have the power to defy Supreme Court directives.Ē

The state governmentís decision to hold studentsí union elections in state universities after almost three decades has generated fresh hope among PU students. Vice-chancellor Singh has given green light to the studentsí union election after the state government approved holding it on the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee.

The studentsí body poll in PU is tentatively scheduled for the last week of October or the first week of November. The Supreme Court directive mandates the studentsí union elections to be held according to the Lyngdoh Committee guidelines.

The committee recommendations fix the age of students contesting the union elections at 25 and class attendance at 75 per cent. The committee also suggests a ban on the use of printed posters and banners, allowing only hand-made ones to be used on campus. It puts a bar (maximum limit Rs 5,000) on the election expenses and bans political donations.