Ravenshaw in poll dilemma

The Ravenshaw University authorities are still in a bind over a decision on the students' union elections even after over 50 days of indefinitely postponing the polls.

By LALMOHAN PATNAIK in Cuttack
  • Published 16.10.17
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The Ravenshaw University. Picture by Badrika Nath Das

Cuttack: The Ravenshaw University authorities are still in a bind over a decision on the students' union elections even after over 50 days of indefinitely postponing the polls.

The varsity authorities had deferred the students' union polls following unrest on the campus against its alternative election model.

Vice-chancellor Prakash Chandra Sarangi told The Telegraph that the executive council, after a meeting on Saturday, had formed a sub-committee "to suggest future course of action".

"The sub-committee includes council of deans chairman Gauranga Nanda and Purna Chandra Panigrahi and Bijaya Mishra, two nominees of the chancellor (governor) in the executive council," Sarangi said.

The sub-committee will recommend whether indirect elections should replace direct elections after considering the legality of the options, especially the alternative model which the university had proposed to adopt.

The varsity had planned to replace a single apex body such as the students' union with students' councils for each of its nine schools consisting of 34 departments.

However, students' organisations put up a combined front and successfully forced the varsity to defer the elections on August 22.

The state higher education department had earlier asked universities and colleges to complete the students' union polls by September 23. As things stand, a decision on elections at the varsity is a distant dream.

Sources said the executive council had not given any deadline to the sub-committee for its report.

According to the alternative model notified on August 10, each students from each undergraduate and postgraduate course will elect their representative directly through secret ballot at the department level.

The elected representatives will become members of the respective schools.Students' council of each school will elect a convenor and deputy convenor from among its members through secret ballot.

The sub-committee report will assume significance as Sarangi had appealed to his colleagues and students "to join hands to implement the process of decentralised direct elections in order to rescue her from external conflicts".

In his appeal, the vice-chancellor had said "the election issue is indeed a test of Ravenshaw's autonomy".

"Let us ask this question to ourselves: Should Ravenshaw be managed by its acts and statutes or by outside elements?" the vice-chancellor had exhorted.