JNU Painted Red Again


In Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union Election, Left organisations have once again shown their clout. Their candidates have won all central panel posts with huge margins and have also won majority for councilor posts.

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of RSS, tried its best to capture the Students’ Union, but its efforts failed and the party emerged as distant second in all four central panel posts. ABVP as well as some BJP leaders were very confident about the election result. Their overconfidence prompted them to claim victory even before the completion of counting. In fact, there was a time, when ABVP presidential candidate was leading with a slender margin for sometime over her nearest left candidate. BJP General Secretary Vijay Vargeeya thought that the trend would continue and congratulated ABVP and its candidate for having won the Presidential post — By this time only around 30 percent of votes had been counted. Soon after Vijay’s proclamation, left candidate started establishing her lead with the lead margin getting wider and wider.

With the progress in counting, ABVP candidates were seen getting relegated to third place. This was very disheartening for BJP leaders and they started deleting their congratulatory posts on social media. Earlier, it was being claimed that ABVP’s 10 councilors had emerged victorious, but the fact was otherwise — Most of these councilors were independent candidates and they were not sponsored by ABVP.
But, why was JNUSU election so important for BJP?

JNU has been a left bastion since its inception and BJP is trying hard to demolish it. Its students’ wing is at loggerheads with the left, leading to frequent clashes. For the last two years, JNU has been on boil over many issues, and BJP leaders are claiming that the University has become a den of ”anti national elements”. Though left parties are weak in India, and except in Kerala and Tripura, have become irrelevant elsewhere, the strong presence of left ideology in JNU in anathema to them. BJP sees in the left it’s most potent ideological competitor and hence wants victory over it.

The fight was triangular from the very beginning: Apart from united left, ABVP and BAPSA (Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association) were also in the fray. BAPSA is minority formation of students mostly belonging to the Dalit community who are trying to forge unity among OBC, SC and ST candidates. Around 50 percent of seats are reserved for these groups and hence they form at least 50 percent of total students. That is why this caste-based formation was expecting good electoral crops, but the result was rather disappointing; It could get merely 20 percent of total votes polled and was relegated to third place at the end of the counting.

Left bastion is intact in JNU, no one can doubt it. But it is also true that left organizations are forced to unite before the election to win. There was a time when Students Federation of India, student wing of CPM, used to sweep all seats single-handedly and its main competitor was also another left organization. The scenario has changed now. Left winners of JNUSU election were from All India Students Association (AISA), Students Federation of India (SFI) and Democratic Students Federation. ABVP has emerged as the main challenger, prompting left organizations to form an alliance.

Apart from ABVP, BAPSA has also established itself on campus. It was formed only two years ago and fought its first election last year. Its presidential candidate was the runner up last year even though other candidates could not succeed in getting a good number of votes. During the current election, almost all candidates got sizable number of votes indicating that the left organizations will have to face the challenge of caste politics as well.

– Contributed by Kriti

Picture Credits: pressks.com

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