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Go-ahead for Jadavpur University, Presidency polls

Rabindra Bharati University and Diamond Harbour Women’s University have also been allowed the liberty

By Subhankar Chowdhury in Calcutta
  • Published 18.10.19, 4:55 AM
  • Updated 18.10.19, 4:55 AM
  • 2 mins read
A room at Aurobindo Bhavan in Jadavpur University being cleaned ahead of the chancellor’s visit on Thursday Subhankar Chowdhury

Jadavpur University and Presidency may hold student elections whenever they “deemed fit”, the state education department said on Thursday.

Besides, Rabindra Bharati University and Diamond Harbour Women’s University have also been allowed the liberty.

JU was rocked by a student protest earlier this year demanding student elections. The vice-chancellor was gheraoed for at least five times in a month.

Many saw in the announcement, an attempt to placate students. It comes a day before governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, the chancellor of all state universities, visits JU for an administrative meeting.

The education department’s order says: “With reference to the communication from your end and consultation held with different stakeholders, I am directed to inform you that you may hold the elections to the students’ union / students’ council as deemed fit.”

JU vice-chancellor Suranjan Das had earlier conveyed the students’ demand to the government and had also sought permission to hold the elections.

The last round of campus election was held in Bengal in early 2017. The government imposed a bar after that to quell campus violence.

The order comes almost two months after education minister Partha Chatterjee met student leaders from various campuses. There, he had hinted at an early relief for JU and Presidency.

When the higher education department had brought in The West Bengal Universities and Colleges (Composition, Functions and Procedure for Election of Students’ Council) Rules, 2017, it said the campuses could only hold the polls to the students’ council. There was no mention of students’ union.

As the students’ council would have several office-bearers selected by the heads of the institutions, the students of Jadavpur University and Presidency University opposed the constitution of the council and demanded that they be allowed to have students’ union.

According to the 2017 rules, the VC would nominate the president, vice-president and the treasurer of the students’ union from among the teachers. The secretary and assistant secretaries will be elected from among the students.

Thursday’s order also mentions students’ union, which means elections can also be held like they used to be earlier.

“Now that the government has allowed the four universities, including Presidency and JU, to have students’ unions like they existed before 2017, it would mean all office-bearers would have to be elected and not nominated by the administration,” said an official of the education department.

Asked when the polls on the campus would be held, Presidency registrar Debajyoti Konar said: “We will go through the order on Friday and then will take call.”

The rules framed in 2017 had stated that the campus polls would be a biennial affair. “But the Thursday’s order means that the campus polls in these four campuses can be held annually as was the case before June 2017,” said the official.