Students elections trends

The Left has retained its hold over the two universities in capital Delhi. It captured both the Delhi University and the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Unions, trouncing the BJP’s student wing – the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The BJP and its allied organizations had especially targeted the JNU where it was bent on eliminating the Left. The JNU campus has frequently seen clashes between the Left students and the ABVP. Even the supposedly pro-Left teaching staff of JNU has been under attack from the Right-wingers. But in the battle of ideologies, it was the Left which won.
Now in Assam also, the ABVP could not battle out the All Assam Students’ Union, the oldest students’ body, in the elections to the prestigious Post Graduate Students’ Union (PGSU) of the Guwahati University. Out of the total of 15 seats, the AASU alone won eight seats.  The National Students Union of India (NSUI) which is the student front of the Congress, the Chhatra Mukti Sangram Samiti (student wing of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti) and the ABVP won two seats each while the candidate in one seat was returned unopposed. The BJP terminated the 15-year old rule of the Congress in Assam last year. The present BJP Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, is himself a former heavyweight leader of the AASU. But even he could not ensure an ABVP win. After the BJP came to power, there has been a marked trend to fill vacancies in the executive councils of different universities in Assam with people who are known more for their ideological affinity to the ruling dispensation rather than for their academic record. That the student community in Assam has not responded favourably to these developments has been reflected in the student union results. 
Another factor, little known outside Assam, is also there. The BJP Government has recently decided that all Hindus coming from Bangladesh will be recognized as refugees and will be given Indian citizenship while the Muslims will be treated as illegal infiltrators and deported. This is a sore point with the Assamese-speaking people because under the Assam Accord of 1985, it was decided that anyone coming from what is now Bangladesh after March 25, 1971 (the day Bangladesh declared independence) will be treated as refugees and sent back to Bangladesh – whether they are Hindus or Muslims. Now the BJP has gone back on it. The Assamese fear that it will bring about a demographic change which will go against them. The seeds of a major conflict between the Assamese and Bengalis are now being silently sown due to the short-sighted policy of the BJP.

Monday, 18 September, 2017