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Poll buzz on campus

Students discuss the December 11 Patna University election on the BN College lawns on Friday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey

The joy of democracy was writ large on the faces of Patna University students on Friday, a day after the election date was announced.

Most of the students appeared upbeat about the December 11 varsity poll, to be conducted in Patna University after 28 years. They have started talking about the probable candidates and the possible winners.

BN College students were seen discussing the students’ union election at the college grounds. Abhay, a first-year undergraduate student at BN College, said: “Some seniors organised a meeting to discuss the pros and cons of conducting the election following the Lyngdoh Committee’s recommendations.”

Under the recommendations, the age of students contesting union elections should not be above 25 years. The candidates should also have 75 per cent attendance.

A few rued the “over-aged” poll aspirants. But most students were of the opinion that muscle and money power would not be able to interfere in the varsity poll because Lyngdoh Committee’s recommendations would be followed.

Aryan Alok, a first-year postgraduate (geography) student of the university, said: “The students will get an opportunity to elect their representatives without any interference from the outsiders because the poll would be conducted following the Lyngdoh panel’s suggestions.”

Jagriti Anand, a first-year economics student at Darbhanga House, said: “We want students’ representatives from among us who can raise issues such as provision for drinking water, sanitation and improvement of infrastructure on the varsity campus.”

Over the past 28 years, hardly anybody fought for the cause of Patna University students.

The students’ wings of the political parties often disrupted classes organising protests having nothing to do with the campus.

Purnakishore Kumar, a student of the geography department, said: “Protests involving outsiders and issues having nothing to do with the campus frequently paralyse the university. In majority of the cases, the protesters are affiliated to the students’ bodies of the political parties but are not students.

“If there are few students, they are too aged to be on the campus. In September, we saw AISF, AISA and ABVP members staging protests on the university campus against the foreign direct investment in the retail sector and other national issues. But the genuine problems of the students like drinking water facilities, and security arrangements at colleges and hostels are never raised. The polls following the Lyngdoh Committee’s recommendations would give us an opportunity to elect our representatives, who would fight for our cause.”

The history of poll violence and caste politics in the university has cast a shadow on the excitement, though. Some students said they would vote but not contest the poll.