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Panel norms compel parties to back girls

Girls are the best bet for the most male-dominated political parties in the Patna University Students’ Union election, not spontaneously but out of compulsion.

With the strict implementation of the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations in the poll, most parties are left with no choice but to look for girls who are both capable and taint-free to run for the key posts for the December 11 election. The age bar, the mandatory 75 per cent attendance, along with a good academic record, have given girls a clear edge over the boys, who were aspiring to contest the poll. Girls, according to some party leaders, have a face value also.

For the parties, it was a Herculean task to select disciplined candidates having the guts to hold key posts in one of the largest universities in the state.

The JD(U), which was openly protesting against the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations a week ago, had to back Swati Sneha, a mass communication student from Patna Women’s College, as its presidential candidate. The support for Sneha from the party came at the last minute.

A leader of the JD(U) students’ wing said: “Had the PU not adhered to the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations, most of the contenders for the poll would have been boys.”

But Sneha is unfazed. She is extremely focused on the issues she would take up after “winning” the election.

“Apart from raising issues related to the academic upgrade at the college- and the university-level, I would request the authorities to allow cellphones and relax the students’ dress code at Patna Women’s College,” Sneha said.

The use of cellphones and sporting jeans and skirts are banned in the college.

All India Backward Students’ Forum (AIBSF), too, is backing a woman for the presidential post. Usha Kiran, who is contesting the poll, has bypassed several student leaders, who were part of the varsity politics for years.

A few among them are Awadesh Lalu, Sanjeev Sardar, Dhiraj Yadav, Rakesh Kumar and Bablu Samrat. But the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations have robbed their chances of contesting the election being held after 29 years. Some of them are facing disciplinary action at the university-level, a few have hit the age hurdle and for the rest, 75 per cent attendance is too tall a task.

The All India Students’ Association (AISA), which swept the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) polls this year by winning all four posts in the central panel, too, is banking on a woman for the presidential post at PU. It has fielded Divya Gautam, a mass communication student from Patna College, for the top post.