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JNUSU Results 2018: Counting Suspended After ABVP, Left Slug it Out Over Ballot Boxes

The students present near the counting centres alleged that around that ABVP workers tried to forcibly enter the counting venue and snatch the sealed ballot boxes.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:September 15, 2018, 3:38 PM IST
JNUSU Results 2018: Counting Suspended After ABVP, Left Slug it Out Over Ballot Boxes
Ruckus at Jawaharlal Nehru University after voting process gets over (News18)
New Delhi: The counting of votes for the students union elections at Jawaharlal Nehru University was suspended on Saturday after some miscreants "tried to snatch away the sealed ballot boxes".

"The counting process, which began on September 14, 2018, at 10 pm has been suspended due to some elements forcibly entering into the counting venue and attempting to snatch away the sealed ballot boxes as well as ballot papers from our counting centres," Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union Election Committee 2018-19 said in a statement.

The statement further said that the nuisance was in addition to the "intimidation and violence at our Election Committee, which included female members led by a Presidential and a Joint Secretary candidate".

The students present near the counting centres alleged that ABVP workers were involved in the incident. "Around 4:00 am, ABVP broke the glasses of the School of International Studies' building. The Election Committee stopped the counting indefinitely. It has demanded an unconditional apology from ABVP as its members have been injured badly," said Madhurima Kundu, AISA Delhi state president.

In a statement, the ABVP denied the allegations. "The information being spread is a propaganda of the Left. It was Saurabh Sharma who has been attacked by Left unity goons when we requested the Election Committee to allow our counting agents to enter the counting booth. We condemn such hooliganism of Left Unity and believe that the issue should be resolved in consonance with JNUSU Constitution and law of the land," the party said.

The incident has kept the varsity students busy in war of words. While members of AISA, DSF BAPSA, SFI, NSUI, CRJD, AISF, SIO, YFDA, BASO and MSF have issued a signed statement, condemning "ABVP's hooliganism during JNUSU election counting process', ABVP accused Election Committee of being the "fifth partner" in Left Unity Alliance.

Citing Rule 5(b) of part 3 in Appendix 1 of JNUSU Constitution, ABVP’s Saurabh Sharma said that no votes can be counted unless the counting agents of all the candidates are present at the counting hall. "The rule provides that each ballot paper must be shown to the counting agents of all the candidates," he said.

Countering ABVP's statement, other student organisations said, "Late night on Friday, the committee made announcements, calling for candidates to send their counting agents for central panel votes from the combined schools (science schools and smaller schools). ABVP did not send counting agents even after the last call was made. Long after sealed ballot boxes were opened and counting began, ABVP demanded that its agents be allowed in, and resorted to violence. As per established norms and convention, nobody other than Election Committee members are allowed inside the counting station once the counting begins," their statement read.

Election Committee chairperson Himanshu Kulshrestha also said that the counting agents, who arrived after the ballot boxes were opened, were not allowed in the centre.

"After three calls were made for the counting agents, 14 agents for 10 different candidates reported at the venue, following which counting began and sealed boxes were opened in their presence. As per the established norms, no new counting agents can enter the counting venue, once the seal of the boxes is opened. Election Committee had to reject the request of new counting agents to enter the respective counting venue. Few students had forcefully entered the building and reached the counting venue, thus, we had to suspend the counting process till students without proper authorisation are cleared of the SIS-I building premises," Kulshrestha said.

He further said that since then multiple attempts have been made at creating a dialogue with parties concerned to solve this deadlock, so that the counting process could be resumed.

The voting process got over on Friday night with the varsity recording its highest voter turnout (68%) in recent times. The total votes polled are 5,185. Students came out in large numbers to vote, just ahead of the 2019 general elections.

A student said that they have come together against the new rules imposed by the current VC M Jagadesh Kumar, which includes compulsory attendance, scuttling reservations, and scrapping of GS CASH Gender Sensitization Committee Against Sexual Harassment.

For the post of President N Sai Balaji, 26, is representing the Left unity, while Thallapelli Praveen, 26, is standing from BAPSA.

The issue of compulsory attendance and restoration of reservation policies is close to Jayant Kumar of Chhatra Rashtra Dal and Vikas Yadav of NSUI. ABVP's Lalit Pandey will work for making campus safe for women and improvement of hostel mess and also fight against the compulsory attendance.

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| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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