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Amid cheer, students get back space

The hullabaloo surrounding the dance of democracy gave way to the pleasures of the gentleman’s game at Patna University on Wednesday.

Students abandoned posters and flags — popular campaign material — and picked up willow and leather. A group was spotted playing cricket at Patna College grounds, perhaps hoping to make a breakthrough into the Indian national team and improve its dismal fortunes.

“We finally have time and space to play,” said Sanjay Singh, one of the amateur cricketers at Patna College. “Till yesterday (Tuesday), the ground was occupied by candidates and their supporters, overseeing the election process.”

His friend and fellow cricketer Prabhat Ranjan said: “There was a lot of activities surrounding the poll. It was not conducive for cricket. But today (Wednesday), we can play in peace.”

Besides the cricketers, few others came to the university or the colleges. The university authorities declared a holiday on Wednesday.

Some students’ organisations, however, took out processions to celebrate the victory of some of the candidates they had supported. Two AISF members made it to the central panel and six to the executive body.

Carrying flags and banners, the AISF members marched out of the Patna Science College campus. They were at no pain to conceal their pride or joy.

As they reached vice-chancellor Shambhu Nath Singh’s residence on Ashok Rajpath, they shouted slogans hailing him. “VC saheb ko salaam,” some of them cried.

An AISF member said: “It is because of the initiative of VC Shambhu Nath Singh that the students’ union election at Patna University was held after a gap of 28 years.”

He was, however, quick to add that the organisation was opposed to the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations and wanted changes.

Protests and plans can, of course, wait for later. On Wednesday, it was time to celebrate.

The students’ wing of the JD(U) also took out a victory procession on the university campus as did their archrivals, the RJD students’ wing.

The youths, affiliated to the RJD, did not have much to celebrate in electoral politics since the Nitish-wave sweeped Bihar. On Wednesday, they celebrated the victory of Abhishek Gupta, who is the new treasurer of the Pusu.

Tej Pratap, son RJD chief Lalu Prasad, had campaigned on Abhishek’s behalf before the election. His supporters shouted slogans in favour of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi on Wednesday.

The JD(U) students’ wing members called a meeting at the office of party MP RCP Singh. A member present at the meeting later told The Telegraph: “While the ABVP students had guidance from BJP workers, we had no such help from our party. No wonder the ABVP-backed candidate won.”

Sources said on Tuesday night, there was a clash between the ABVP and AISF members at Magadh Mahila College, where the votes were being counted.

“The police intervened to stop the fight,” added a source.

The hostel boarders, too, joined the winners in the raucous celebrations on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, however, the contest was on the 22 yards, the only clash was the plick-plock of the cricket bat on the leather ball.


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