Back-up candidates came into the fray on Tuesday after nominations of two candidates vying for the presidential post in the Patna University Students’ Union election were rejected.
On Tuesday, the nominations of presidential candidates Nikhil Kumar Jha, supported by the All India Students’ Federation, and National Students’ Union of India-backed Riya Raj, were cancelled.
The grievance redressal forum of the election committee was not satisfied with the explanations offered by Jha and Raj. Jha’s papers were rejected on the grounds of disciplinary action initiated by the varsity against him. Raj had to bite the dust because of poor attendance.
Both the parties, however, had back-up candidates for the top post. Mahesh Kumar, a first-year LLB student of Patna Law College, replaced Jha. The NSUI did not disclose the name of the new candidate.
Compared to Monday, the atmosphere on the campus was calmer. Paying no heed to the violence of yesterday (Monday), the students’ organisations and the candidates got back into the election mode as soon as the varsity opened on Tuesday. Some students supported the police action against the protesters on Monday because “demonstrations had become a regular affair at the varsity”.
On Monday evening, supporters of the candidates backed by the NCP, JD(U) and RJD, whose nominations were rejected, staged a protest in front of the administrative block in the presence of university vice-chancellor Shambhu Nath Singh and other senior officers. The police had to lathicharge the protesters.
“The violence will not deter our election plan, which is being conducted after 28 years. One incident cannot deprive us the chance of making this election historic,” said Sikha Suman, a third-year history student of Magadh Mahila College.
She, however, said the university should provide adequate security on the campus during campaigning and on the day of election.
Foreseeing a backlash, security arrangements were beefed up at all the colleges under Patna University and at the administrative block. Police personnel were seen guarding the campus and the hostels amid intense canvassing.
Members of students’ organisations, who were protesting against the cancellation of nominations of the candidates they were supporting, took out a protest march against the police lathicharge on Tuesday. They, however, campaigned for the other candidates they are backing in the poll.
Abhudaya, the state secretary of the AISA, said: “We are protesting against the rejection of candidates by the university election committee. But in no way would the election be cancelled.”
Nominations of a few candidates supported by the AISA have been rejected.
Sources said there is a faction of students, which is trying to postpone the election by spreading rumour that the state government would cancel the poll if violence continues on the campus.
Scotching the rumour, Patna University proctor Kriteshwar Prasad said: “The university is very serious about the election. In no way would it be postponed or cancelled until higher authorities order for the same.”
The proctor added: “Before the election, the police would be provided a list of booths, along with the number of voters in each booth, and a list of candidates contesting the election.”