Students’ Federation of India (SFI) on Thursday, November 14, bagged all five posts of president, vice-president, general secretary, additional secretary and secretary of girls’ common room in the students’ union election of Presidency University, Kolkata. For all the posts, SFI defeated their biggest opponent, Independent Consolidation (IC), with a large margin. The organisation also won 58 out of the 116 seats for class representatives.
Talking to NewsClick, Mayukh Biswas, all India general secretary of SFI, said, “This is a win for the student community everywhere. We have to utilise whatever democratic options we have available to fight dictatorial politics. The win has come as the result of the never-say-die attitude in fighting for the issues faced by the students.”
Souren Mallik of SFI bagged the post of general secretary with 840 votes, while the IC candidate received 574 votes. Mimosa Ghorai, who contested the election for the post of president, won with a margin of 472 votes. Ankita, the vice-presidential candidate, won with a margin of 359 votes. Deeprajit Debnath, the SFI candidate fighting for the post of additional secretary won by 277 votes; Shruti Roy Muhuri won the post of secretary of the girls’ common room by 104 votes.
There are 2,700 students in the university in the current year, out of which, 1,500 students cast their votes on Thursday. The counting was completed in 16 rounds. Out of the 116 seats for class representatives, SFI won 58, IC won 50, All India Students’ Federation and SGS won two seats each. Democratic Students’ Organisation won one seat while BJP-backed candidates won two seats.
Mayukh said, “The progressive students of Presidency University are with SFI. Universities and colleges across the country are witnessing the victory of progressive students’ organisations, and West Bengal is no exception.”
Srijan Bhattacharya, the West Bengal state secretary of SFI said, “The students have rejected the communal forces of Trinamool Congress and BJP. It has been proved that whenever elections are conducted democratically, the progressive people always win. This victory will be followed by more victories.”
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Surjya Kanta Mishra congratulated SFI for the massive victory in the university after nine years. In 2010, SFI had lost the students' union election to IC. He tweeted: "Congratulations for the impressive victory of SFI in the Presidency University Student's Union election. Wish sincerest efforts to consolidate the unity of all Left Students Organisations shall continue to be the foremost agenda as ever."
The students’ union election was conducted in Presidency University after two and a half years. In 2017, the West Bengal government had taken the decision to replace the students’ unions in all colleges and universities with apolitical students’ councils. The students’ union elections were stopped in all state government-run universities and colleges.
Earlier this year, in the month of October, the West Bengal government had finally asked four universities—Presidency University, Jadavpur University, Rabindra Bharati University and Diamond Harbour Women’s University—to conduct students’ union elections. Within three days of this notification, Presidency University had announced that students’ union elections will be held on November 14.
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