New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru University elections reached a fever pitch on Wednesday as the candidates locked horns over issues ranging from the abrogation of Article 370 to the economic slowdown to the final Assam NRC in the Presidential debate.
The varsity issues that were highlighted included the discriminatory treatment to the female students and the lack of hostels.
Onlookers were in for a heated altercation between the supporters of the Left-leaning parties and right-wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The University goes to polls on September 6.
Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association (BAPSA) candidate Jitendra Suna’s words rang loud during the debate and drew the loudest of cheers and applause.
The BAPSA candidate Suna started his speech by saying, “I salute the Kashmiris fighting for their rights, I salute the Assamese going through NRC, I salute the adivasis fighting for their rights, I salute the LGBTQ and I salute my mom for fighting against caste-based discrimination and poverty.”
He added, “While I was campaigning I was asked how I will partake in the debate since my Hindi is not good. I have struggled to reach here and that is my presidential debate.”
Hailing from Odisha’s Kalahandi district, Suna belongs to a family of landless labourers. He himself worked as a labourer. Then his life changed when he chanced upon the works of Dr BR Ambedkar.
Suna’s stand during the debate was in vehement reproach of the Left party’s seeming treatment of minorities. "SFI (Students’ Federation of India) will have you believe that it is because of them that you succeed in life. That’s not true as our life if not an offering from someone. We have what we have because of the Constitution.”
Among the other candidates was Aishe Ghosh, who is representing the united left panel consisting of the SFI, All India Students’ Association (AISA), All India Students’ Federation (AISF) and the Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF). The Left parties have joined hands to challenge the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) candidate Manish Jangid.
National Students’ Union of India’s (NSUI) candidate Prashanth Kumar, BAPSA’s Jitendra Suna and Priyanka Bharati of the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s students’ wing delivered the Presidential debate. Raghavendra Mishra is standing as an independent candidate and donned his Yogi Adityanath.
The debate started with ABVP candidate who was decried by the audience for making false claims regarding his organisation’s achievements on campus. He said, “Vote for me to have a responsible JNU.” He was followed by the NSUI candidate, Kumar who raised his voice against the cases of lynching and deplorable state of the economy. The independent candidate Mishra wished JNU to give the country a “Hindu leader” or “right-wing ka devta” like him.