Campaigning began at Gauhati University (GU) campus (Assam) on Wednesday ahead of the Post Graduate Students’ Union (PGSU) polls which will be held on September 24 next. About 4,500 students will cast their vote on September 24 and the counting will take place on the next day.
A report published in the The Times of India stated that the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) won the PGSU polls with a thumping majority last year. The three other parties – National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), Satra Mukti Sangram Samiti (SMSS) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – face an uphill task in GU which is an AASU stronghold.
The report further quoted the Organizing Secretary of AASU, Pragyan Bhuyan, as saying, “We are hopeful that the AASU will win again with a landslide victory in the PGSU election this year. Last year’s election was a clear indication that ABVP or NSUI – despite enjoying patronage from political parties – is no match for the popularity of AASU.”
Wednesday was the last date for withdrawal of nominations and the GU election committee finally declared the list of valid nominations late in the evening. But cautious about losing support, the student organisations have kept the names of their candidates secret so far. “A large chunk of students in GU still assess candidates as individuals – and do not take into consideration their political affiliations – while voting,” said an official of the election committee, on condition of anonymity.
Sources said that NSUI and SMSS may lend support to each other’s candidates to forge a united opposition against AASU. GU has been an AASU stronghold ever since the days of the anti-foreigners’ movement during 1979-1985.
Meanwhile, the Sangh-affiliated ABVP, which had a disappointing outing last year, will try to make inroads once again. “ABVP members are going to campaign for the students of GU. Increasing the number of seats in all departments is our prime agenda. Moreover, extension of university hostels and development of sports infrastructure in the university are important issues and will be our main election planks,” said Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan, Guwahati Divisional Organising Secretary of the ABVP.