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In a First, ABVP Fields Candidates for Jadavpur University Polls, SFI Confident of Win in All Seats

File photo of Jadavpur University.

File photo of Jadavpur University.

ABVP candidates filed their nominations for all the central panels of the Engineering and Arts faculties. The elections will be held on February 19 and the results will be declared a day later.

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Sujit Nath

Kolkata: For the first time in the 65-year-old history of Jadavpur University (JU), known to be a hotbed of Left-wing politics, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student outfit of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has fielded candidates for all posts in the upcoming student’s union elections.

ABVP candidates filed their nominations for all the central panels of the Engineering and Arts faculties between February 4 and 6. The elections will be held on February 19 and the results will be declared a day later.

The central panels have two chairpersons, two general secretaries and four assistant general secretaries. The ABVP has also fielded candidates for the posts of class representatives.

The right-wing outfit and the CPI(M)-backed Students’ Federation of India (SFI) are fighting each other for 40 seats in the Arts faculty, and a similar number of seats in the Engineering department.

When asked why the outfit decided to contest from all the seats, ABVP’s JU unit president Suman Das said his outfit wants to fight against the anti-nationalists on the campus.

“There are groups in JU who are raising ‘Azaadi’ slogans, they believe in the ideology of ‘Naxalism’. What kind of freedom are they talking of in independent India? From whom do they want this ‘azaadi’? Such thoughts are disturbing and not good for the nation. Hence, we decided to enter the electoral fray and hoping to win some seats,” he said.

The student leader also condemned the recent incident of the Chancellor Jagdeep Dhankhar being stopped from visiting the university.

“They don’t allow the chancellor or Union minister to enter the campus. What is going on? We felt that the academic standard of JU is deteriorating due to these students and we want to save JU from these evil forces,” Das added.

"Jadavpur University doesn't mean Left citadel. There has been a rise of nationalist forces in the varsity and we are hopeful of doing very well," said Suvadeep Karmakar, chairperson of the ABVP's Arts department unit in the JU.

"The general students are peeved with the disruptive policies of gherao and demonstrations by the Left-leaning students and anti-national slogans raised during agitations and are looking for a change," he added.

SFI leader Debraj Debnath said the ABVP candidates would face such humiliation that they would never contest polls again.

“It’s good they have decided to contest the students’ poll. But this will be their first and last contest in JU because the results will so humiliating that they will not dare to contest again,” Debnath said.

“Those who are calling us anti-nationals should look what they are doing in the entire country. We are ready for the polls and we will give a befitting political reply on February 19,” he said, adding the spontaneous participation of general students in several anti-CAA protests on the campus showed the ABVP has no place in the varsity.

The CPI-ML-backed All India Students Association (AISA) and the Trinamool Chatra Parishad (TMCP) are also fighting the polls. The last election at the premier university was held in 2017 when all the seats the arts department were won by SFI candidates, while science and engineering departments are under We The Independent (WTI) and Democratic Students' Front (DSF).

With negligible presence of the TMCP, the ABVP is the main opposition on the campus. This time, all the Left-leaning groups are said to have united to fight the saffron brigade.

The campus was in the news when the governor was shown black flags by a section of students when he went to attend a meeting as its chancellor.

The students, protesting against Dhankar's stand on the proposed nationwide NRC and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), surrounded his car and shouted slogans when he reached the main gate of the university. He was escorted to the venue of the meeting after Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das and other varsity officials intervened.

However, he left the meeting midway. As the students blocked his way again, Dhankhar said he had a hunch that he would face protests, but still decided to visit the campus to find a way out of the impasse over cancellation of the special convocation.

The varsity earlier cancelled the special convocation where Dhankhar was supposed to confer D.Litt and D.Sc to some eminent people. It was scheduled for December 24.

Before that, there was a huge showdown between Left-backed student union members and the ABVP when Union Minister Babup Supriyo was stopped from attending an event organised by the RSS-backed youth outfit. Supriyo was allegedly assaulted, following which Dhankar had rushed to the spot to “rescue” him.

(With inputs from PTI)


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