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Saturday , March 2 , 2013
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What: Vox Pop 2013, a national-level debate, organised by Jadavpur University Debating Society in association with The Telegraph.

When: February 24 and 25.

The prelims: On February 24, 28 two-member teams of students from Jadavpur University, St. Xavier’s College, KIIT, NUJS, Presidency University and others participated in an Oxford-style quarter-finals in which they were randomly split into four groups and asked to speak on topics like “Life imitates art”, “US is the Titanic” and “The public deserves the politicians it elects”. The top two teams from each group qualified for the semi-finals.

The eight teams went on to debate in an American Parliamentary style on topics like “Same sex couples should be allowed to adopt” and “Women should be forcibly removed from situations of domestic violence”. The teams from Jadavpur University, Presidency University, NUJS and Heritage Institute of Technology made their way to the finals.

The finals: The finals on February 25 saw the four teams argue on the motion: “The CBI should be accorded constitutional status”.

The format of the debate, however, was a modified British Parliamentary style where the participants were randomly divided into four groups of two members each.

The first and second proposition teams, debating for the motion became the prime minister, deputy prime minister, member of government and government whip, while the two teams debating against the motion comprised the leader of Opposition, deputy leader of Opposition, member of Opposition and Opposition whip.

There was a Third Front comprising first-year students of Jadavpur University whose primary function was to question the policies of the government and the Opposition. While the “government” drew a parallel between CBI and CIA, the deputy leader of Opposition, Aruni Roy Chowdhury, was quick to point out that it was actually meaningless to compare CIA with CBI since the former takes care of cases of foreign misconduct, and how it would be more appropriate to draw parallels with the FBI which is, like CBI, in charge of domestic cases.

Quite a bit of thrust-and-parry later, the judges — Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, Subodh Sarkar, Anjum Katyal and guest of honour Sunanda K. Datta Ray declared the team of Agnidipto Tarafder of NUJS and Aruni Roy Chowdhury of Heritage Institute of Technology winners, while Abhishek Pal and Sneha Mondal of JU were runners-up. Sayon Banerjee of Jadavpur University was awarded the Best Speaker prize.