The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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American in JNU first

New Delhi, Nov. 11: Tyler Walker Williams is from America, which is waging a self- declared war for democracy in the world.

But his ideology tilts to the Left rather than the free market policies championed by the US.

So what does he do to win an election'

He comes to India, the world’s largest democracy.

“It’s funny. Given my political allegiances, I wouldn’t have ever won an election in an American university,” laughed Williams, elected vice-president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s central panel today.

The first American to win a JNU election, Williams was fielded by the CPI (ML) Liberation-backed All India Students’ Association. Being a part of the student wing of the CPI (ML) Liberation need not mean he is associated with the parent organisation.

Today, the student of Hindi was as Indian as the rest, hooting from the shoulders of fellow AISA activists as the winners marched through the campus.

In keeping with tradition, all the posts on the central panel went to Left nominees. The CPM-backed Students’ Federation of India candidate, Dhananjay Tripathi, was elected president. Sandeep Singh, of the AISA, is the new general secretary while the SFI’s Jyotsna Singh is the joint secretary.

In the two-stage polls, each department elects councillors while the university independently votes a central panel.

If the central panel threw up no surprises, the councillor elections revealed a university split by reservation, but not along caste lines.

All the 15 councillor posts in the humanities section went to pro-reservation Left nominees while all 10 in the science schools were won by Youth for Equality, the organisation leading anti-reservation protests across the country and a first-timer in the JNU polls.

This divide was not reflected in the central panel because humanities students make up about 80 per cent of the total student strength.

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