With the PUCSC set to complete its term in May, other student bodies have already sounded the election bugle either by campaigning for various causes or calling out the present student council for its shortcomings.
New Delhi, April 30, 2018: There is a new student union on the block at Panjab University. Some members of the homegrown Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU) have broken away and formed the Students’ Federation of Panjab University (SFPU), a front that claims to have no affiliation to any political party or ideology.
With the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) set to complete its term in May, other student bodies have already sounded the election bugle either by campaigning for various causes or calling out the present student council for its shortcomings.
While it could be counted as another day in the chapter of student politics on the campus, it is interesting to note that SFPU, formed a month ago, is a homegrown front. The new party has already started its election campaign of sorts by launching a heavyweight helpline for Panjab University Common Entrance Test (PU-CET) 2018 on Thursday According to reports published in indianexpress.com
The party has chosen ex-PUSU members Ravinder Gill as president and Ishaan Sharma as campus president. The core members of SFPU, including Gill, Sahil Jaglan, Ankush Rawat and Rishi Bhardwaj, are all ex-PUSU members. However, another core member Hari Om Deswal is from the National Students’ Union of India, the student wing of the Congress.
Student leaders said in the months leading up to the elections that are held in September, factions, student leaders jumping parties and new organisations were common practice on the campus. This does not dilute the fact that the PUSU has never seen members leaving and forming a new front in the last 10 years, they added.
The PUSU is one of the oldest homegrown student bodies formed in 1977. Another homegrown party, Students’ Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), was formed in 1985. Initially, PUSU and SOPU dominated the elections on the campus. But the NSUI first contested the elections in 1997 and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) won an office-bearer’s post in 2000.
“Leaders or members alike have left and joined other parties or student parties form alliances all the time during elections. But, it is rare that a large chunk breaks away from a parent party and forms another front,” said a PU student leader, who did not want to be named.
In 2016, before the elections, the NSUI witnessed major infighting that gave birth to a faction called the NSUI-Student Front. That year, the NSUI suffered a major defeat and came fourth in the elections. But in 2017, the NSUI learnt from its mistakes and put up a united front to win the PUCSC elections.
“I don’t think it’s a great move to form such factions or smaller parties. It shows that people want their own agenda to be highlighted rather than work for student welfare,” said another student leader on condition of anonymity.
The student leader added that political student wings were working towards a greater cause and through them, student issues could be taken up at a much higher level.
Sources said Gill and Jaglan of the newly formed SFPU were among the most prominent PUSU leaders and have formed the new party with large teams in sciences and laws.
“We’ve not made an official announcement yet, but we’re there on the social media. We’re waiting for the new session for a formal inauguration as students have exams coming up,” said SFPU Ravinder Gill. He added that the major focus now was helping CET candidates and party members will be there to guide the students when the test begins on Sunday According to reports published in indianexpress.com
“I felt that not a single party strongly questioned the present student council on their work throughout the year. We don’t have any particular ideological belief and only want to focus on student welfare,” further stated Gill.
As for separating from the PUSU, Gill expressed that no one questioned the student council in his previous party. “We lost the elections last year and then everyone packed their bags and left. There was no proper work going on and I felt disillusioned,” said the 25-year-old, who is studying in the Department of Laws and belongs to Chandigarh.