Manjhi muscles into PU poll tussle
Patna: Former deputy chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Friday jumped into the Patna University Students' Union (Pusu) election tussle, livid over what he called the Patna College administration not cooperating with his party's youth wing candidates in filling nomination papers.
The nomination papers of two candidates of the Chhatra Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) - the students' wing of Manjhi's HAMS - were rejected due to late submission.
The nominations of students' union president aspirant Arman Raj and general-secretary candidate Jayant Kumar, both political science students at Patna College, were rejected as their papers reached the returning officer half an hour after the deadline of 3pm on Thursday.
Manjhi on Friday met the members of his party's student's wing who where were protesting outside the Patna University main gate against the university administration's decision.
"Our candidates were late in filling nomination papers due to Patna College political science head Deepti Sinha's delay in forwarding the papers of our candidates," claimed Bhim Singh, HAMS state spokesperson who is also looking after the students'wing's Patna University campaign.
Bhim claimed that both candidates were running after their head of department from Thursday morning for forwarding the nomination papers but she delayed the process.
According to the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations for elections at higher education institutes, the head of the department has to certify that a candidate has the mandatory 75 per cent attendance record.
"My party will raise the issue with the chancellor's office," Manjhi declared. "Due to negligence of some teacher and principal our students missed the chance of contesting the Pusu election."
The Chhatra HAMS members called off their agitation after Manjhi came and joined it and promised to escalate the issue.
After Manjhi lent his muscle to the protest, Patna University vice-chancellor Rash Bihari Prasad Singh issued a show-cause notice to Patna College principal Ejaz Ali Arshad and asked him to submit a report within 24 hours.
Arshad said: "Based on the report submitted by political science department head Deepti Sinha, I have submitted the report to university."
Sources said Sinha in her reply has stated that she forwarded the nominations of the two candidates before 3pm, but the duo, assuming that the deadline was 5pm, delayed submitting their papers.
"It's a clear case of lack of seriousness of the two candidates," a Patna College teacher said under cover of anonymity.
"The university has already issued instructions that the last date for submitting nominations is February 8 by 3pm. If candidates don't know the nomination timing how can they expect to contest the election?"
The Pusu poll, scheduled for February 17, is being held after a gap of more than five years. The last election was held on December 2012. On Thursday, 160 candidates filed their nominations for 28 posts. There are 16 candidates contesting for the president's post.