Promises poured in on the Patna University campus on Monday.
From taking steps to plug brain drain by improving academic standards, enhancing on-campus security to betterment of sports, contestants fighting the Patna University students’ union election rendered lip service on diverse issues on the first day of campaigning.
Candidates backed by students’ organisations preferred to canvass around the campus in groups, while Independents banked on modern gadgets — cellphones for sending text messages and computers for emailing — to seek votes in their favour.
Amit Sinha, contesting as an Independent for the post of secretary, said: “I am relying on text messages and emails for campaigning, as I do not have much supporters to canvass along with me.”
On Monday, the ultra-left All India Students’ Association (AISA) concentrated on the girls’ institutions — Patna Women’s College and Magadh Mahila College — for campaigning. Its archrival, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), embarked on their election campaign from Patna Science College and Patna College.
Carrying handmade posters and pictorial representations of their struggles on varied issues, the AISA members were spotted seeking votes in favour of their candidates. Demand for quality education at the university-level being the main poll plank of the AISA, its members tried to generate awareness on the importance of education for everyone.
Divya Gautam, an AISA candidate contesting the presidential post, highlighted the past glory of Patna University and its degradation at all levels in the recent years with students being forced to move to other states for higher studies. During her campaign, she also raised the issue of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan’s Swat Valley, who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ right to education in her country for years.
Citing Malala’s example, Divya said: “No society can develop without education. Those who champion the cause of education have to face difficulties many a time.”
ABVP-backed presidential candidate Ashish Sinha preferred to concentrate on the formation of placement cells at various departments of the university, considered a core issue on the campus.
Sinha said: “Over the past few years, a number of vocational courses have been introduced in the university but many of them run from a single room. Most of them lack a placement cell.”
Sinha, who has played for Jharkhand in Ranji Trophy, promised boost to extra-curricular activities for students. He said: “All prominent colleges of Patna University have big grounds but neither the college administrations nor the university organises sports meet for students.”
National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), which has fielded a woman candidate from Patna Women’s College for the presidential post, began its campaign from that college. Drawing attention towards the menace of eve-teasing on college campuses, NSUI candidate Riya Raj said: “Eve-teasing around college campuses has become a big problem for girl students. Their security would be our foremost priority if I win the poll.”
Nidhi Kumari, studying sociology at Patna College, said: “It is appreciable that the students’ election is being held in strict adherence to the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations. It is good that rowdy elements are being kept at bay and educated students are taking part in the polls. Time would only tell whether the promises they are making are delivered or not.”
The election committee detected some anomalies in the nominations of NSUI’s Riya Raj and AISF’s Nikhil Kumar Jha on Monday evening. Patna University vice-chancellor Shambhu Nath Singh has directed the duo to appear before the grievance redressal cell of the varsity on Tuesday.