The Students Federation of India (SFI) and its alliance partners Ambedkar Periyar Students’ Union (APSU), the student wing of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in the university and All India Students Federation (AISF) won a thumping victory in the students’ council elections of Pondicherry University held on Wednesday. The alliance won 10 out of the 11 posts to the council.
The SFI alliance defeated the grand alliance of Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA), National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), Muslim Students’ Federation (MSF), and Fraternity Organisation. The right-wing outfit Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) too reportedly had supported the grand alliance.
Clean Sweep for SFI Alliance
The votes were counted on Wednesday after the elected representatives of schools voted for the election to the students’ council. SFI candidate Parichay Yadav was elected as the president, Mamata G was elected as vice president (female), Kuriakose Junior as joint secretary, while Rupam Hazarika, Al Rishal Shanavas, Swetha Venkitewaran and Anagha S were elected as the executive committee members.
APSF candidates V Kuralanban and Dhanavardhini M were elected as the general secretary and executive committee member of the council respectively, while AISF’s Kumar J was elected as the vice president of the council. An independent candidate was also elected to the executive committee.
This is the second consecutive time when the SFI has emerged victorious in the PU students’ council elections.
Victory for Progressive Politics: SFI
The SFI has attributed the success to its continuous struggle for the welfare of the students and progressive politics it has been advocating in the campus.
The newly elected president of the PU students’ council Parichay Yadav, while speaking to NewsClick, said, “This is a huge mandate for the struggles the SFI has been carrying out in the campus for the past several years. The students have also rejected the regressive and divisive politics of other student unions, some of which were functioning at the behest of the university administration. The newly elected council will ensure that the voice of every single student is listened to and addressed.”
Will Demand Student Representation in Decision-making Bodies
Talking about the important issues the new council will be looking into, Parichay added, “There is no students’ representation in any of the decision-making bodies of the university. We will fight to have students’ representation in such crucial bodies so that the opinions of the students are considered while decisions pertaining to students are made. Also, the promises made by the vice chancellor, when SFI cadres sat on a hunger strike, are yet to be fulfilled. We will ensure that those issues are addressed and solved at the earliest.”
Earlier in July, the SFI cadres had sat on an indefinite hunger strike demanding rollback of the fee hike and the newly imposed bus fee for the native students of Pondicherry. They also demanded 25% reservation of seats across all departments of the university. The vice chancellor was forced to relent and had convened a committee to look into the demands of the protesters.
SFI Lauds Victory in Elections
In a statement after the election results were declared, the SFI claimed that the PU administration has administered draconian policies by increasing the fee across all departments, introducing bus fee and cutting down the number of buses for the native students in spite of the availability of sufficient funds. The communal forces are also trying to make inroads in the campus with the support of the administration to cut down the democratic spaces of dissents and discussions in the campus, the statement added.
The SFI also questioned and criticised the unholy alliance of ASA with other reactionary elements for small electoral gains and compromising on the vision of Dr B R Ambedkar.
SFI Wins School Representative Elections
The SFI emerged as the single largest outfit with 27 seats out of the 70 seats. The ABVP was restricted to just two representatives from the schools. But the hooliganism of ABVP was evident prior to the elections when they attacked an SFI rally held in solidarity against the abrogation of Article 370.
The election to PU is the first in this year to a central university, which has been won emphatically by the SFI.