PU polls-2017: No parties, trips due to scanty funds from parent parties

Chandigarh, Sep 06: Left to their own devices this year, student organisations have been unable to host parties at discos and leisure trips to Shimla and Kasauli. These entertainment initiatives have become a norm on campus, aiding student bodies in widening their support base ahead of Panjab University Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) elections.

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With their student wings in place, PU is a major vote bank for political parties such as Congress, BJP and SAD. Last year, the student elections happened before the 2017 assembly polls which ensured an adequate flow of funds. This year, however, even student leaders admitted that they were not getting even one-fifth of the funds that they received from their parent parties last year.

Ramandeep Singh, a senior leader of the Students for Society (SFS), said, “The big political parties used their student organisations for selfish reasons as they saw a potential vote bank in PU,” adding, “this year, the scenario is different as the student organisations are unfed with money.” The SFS is a leftist student outfit which is not backed by any political party.

With the 2017 assembly elections at the helm, political parties extended their full support to their student wings during the 2016 PUCSC elections. However, another reason for extending this support was the growing influence of the AAP which proved to be a major competitor in Punjab’s hinterland.

Jaideep Singh, patron of the National Youth Association (NYA), said, “This year, the “show-off culture”, synonymous with the student elections, has ended.”

“The SFS performance last year has brought this sea change in the election campaigning. All organisations are focusing more on canvassing instead of offering something in return. Moreover, there are no elections in Punjab or Haryana,” he added.

So far, only one group has organised a trip from the chemical department to Morni Hills, the least preferred place by student organisations. “The expenditure we are bearing for the election is being collected from the students within the organisation. There were no funds to organise a major party or trip,” said  a student leader, who requested anonymity.

Last year, office-bearers of Students Organisation of India (SOI) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) openly put up posters of Kasauli trips. The ABVP booked first-day shows of newly released Bollywood movies and also booked discos for parties.

News Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com