Rejecting right-wing politics of hate, the students of Jadavpur University (JU) yet again elected representatives of Students Federation of India (SFI), We The Independent (WTI) and the Democratic Students Front (DSF) in the departments of arts, science, and engineering respectively. The counting of votes took place on February 20, a day after the elections. The organisations won with a huge margin in all three departments.
Students’ Union elections were held in the University after a three-year-long hiatus; the last election taking place in 2017. In the same year, the West Bengal government decided to replace the students’ unions with students’ councils. Following the decision, students’ unions elections were stopped in all state government-run colleges and universities. The call was met with massive opposition from students across the state.
In October 2019, the West Bengal government finally relented, allowing four universities – Presidency University, Jadavpur University, Rabindra Bharati University, and Diamond Harbour Women’s University – to conduct students’ union elections.
The JU elections were significant for the university as it was the first time that the RSS-backed students organisation Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) fielded candidates to all nine posts of office bearers in the engineering and science faculties. However, despite reportedly spending a massive sum of Rs. 78 lakh on campaigning in the days leading up to the elections, the right-wing organisation failed to secure a single seat.
Results for the science faculty were the first to be declared where WTI registered a huge win. WTI, an organisation that says it identifies neither with the right nor left, won all four seats in the panel. Jyotirmoy, a postgraduate student of Geography was elected Chairperson and Krishnendu, an undergraduate student of Physics was elected General Secretary. Sagnik, an undergraduate student of Chemistry, and Riyamvita, a postgraduate student of Chemistry were elected Assistant General Secretaries for day and evenings respectively. The ABVP barely received any votes in the department.
Results of the engineering faculty were declared next, where DSF won all four posts of office-bearers, also with a huge margin. Aritra, a postgraduate student of Civil Engineering was elected Chairperson, while Gourav, an undergraduate student of Production Engineering was elected General Secretary. Ahtesham, Sujan, and Sankhadip were elected to three posts for assistant eneral secretaries. However, there is cause for concern for the SFI with the ABVP receiving more votes and coming in second.
The results of the arts faculty were finally declared late in the evening as the counting process had been paused due to administrative issues. After the long counting process, the SFI emerged victorious with record margins in all four seats with the Democratic Students’ Alliance (DSA) coming in a distant second. Teerna, a postgraduate student of Philosophy was elected Chairperson and Subhayan, an undergraduate student of International Relations was elected General Secretary. Sreyasri, an undergraduate student of Bengali, and Shalmalee, a postgraduate student of History, were elected assistant general secretaries.
Speaking to NewsClick, Teerna said that the ABVP has been trying to strengthen its position in the University for some years. “Whether it was inviting Babul Supriyo to the university campus, executing planned attacks or vandalising the office of the Arts Faculty Students’ Union; all these have been attempts at increasing the power of ABVP in the university. The election results prove that our university will always continue to fight against fascism,” she added.