Blame game as violence mars JNUSU polls

jnusu-polls-pti Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students wait to place their votes during the students' union polls, in New Delhi | PTI

Violence marred the Jawaharlal Nehru University students' union (JNUSU) polls, as the RSS-affiliated ABVP and the left parties accused each other of fomenting trouble. The left parties even alleged that an attempt was made to kidnap a woman member outside the university. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) claimed their activists were assaulted by the left bloc. "We were 25 in number and they were 250. They assaulted one of our members and he is currently in hospital. Some of their women members even tore the clothes of some of our women members," the ABVP claimed. 

This happened outside the School of International Studies where the counting of votes was then underway. Meanwhile, the left members accused the ABVP members of attacking them in the evening and making an attempt to kidnap them around 10.30pm.  "While coming from the police station after registering a complaint against the goons of ABVP who violently attacked us, four men started assaulting us from all corners," alleged a woman member of the left bloc. 

She claimed they were armed. Meanwhile, the left also claimed ABVP members were stationed inside the campus armed with sticks, a charge denied by the ABVP. Police said they are stationed at all gates of the campus. They denied receiving any complaints so far. 

Counting of votes was suspended for over 14 hours on Saturday, as election authorities cited "forcible entry" and "attempts to snatch away ballot boxes" at counting venue, after the ABVP staged protests claiming it was not informed about the start of the process.

The counting, which was suspended at 4am, resumed at 6.30pm after two teachers from the grievance redressal cell were appointed as observers for the exercise, officials said. "The election committee had resumed counting process at 6.30pm. Counting agents for central panel for combined science schools and special centre remain same. Observers of the election committee will testify for the transparency in which the ballots were counted," the election committee said.

According to figures available, the left and the ABVP are locked in a close fight on the central panel posts of president, vice president, secretary and joint secretary, with the left leading on all fronts.

The voter turnout in the keenly contested JNUSU election on Friday was 67.8 per cent, believed to be the highest in six years. Over 5,000 students cast their votes. The left-backed All India Students' Association (AISA), Students' Federation of India (SFI), Democratic Students' Federation (DSF) and All India Students' Federation (AISF) have come together to form the united-left alliance.

Besides the left bloc, there are candidates of ABVP, NSUI (National Students' Union of India) and BAPSA (Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association). 

The left alliance has fielded N. Sai Balaji of the School of International Studies as its presidential candidate. DSF's Sarika Chaudhary will be contesting for the post of vice president, SFI's Aejaz Ahmad Rather will be contesting for the post of general secretary and AISF's Amutha Jayadeep will be contesting for the joint secretary's position.

All three of them are from the School of Social Sciences. The Congress-affiliated National Students' Union of India (NSUI) has fielded Vikas Yadav of the School of International Studies for the president's post. Lijy K. Babu of the School of Life Sciences will be contesting for the post of vice president.

Md Mofizul Alam will be contesting for the post of secretary, while Ngurang Reena of the School of International Studies will be contesting for the post of joint secretary.

ABVP has fielded Lalit Pandey for the president's post, Geetashri Boruah for the vice-president's post, Ganesh Gurjar for the post of general secretary and Venkat Choubey for joint secretary's post.