Presidential candidates talk on pressing issues one last time before JNU goes to poll today
Students in the fray for the post of president are Dileep Kumar from Students for Swaraj, Jhanwi Ojha from Akhil Bharatiya Vidarthi Parishad (ABVP), Mohit Kumar Pandey from All India Students’ Association (Left alliance candidate), Sonpimple Rahul Punaram from Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA) and Sunny Dhiman from the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI).
The night saw intense clash of ideas and notions propounded to steer the campus and the country forward. Dadri, Una, Reliance Jio, Sikh riots, Gujarat riots, Dabholkar, Pansare, Naxalism, Maoism, all found mention in the speeches of candidates.
Rahul Punaram in his speech touched upon the problems of the LGBT community, relaxation for Muslims, dalits and OBCs, high dropout of students from oppressed sections. Meanwhile, the Left alliance candidate Pandey, focused on the post-February 9 “stand with JNU movement” and resistance of JNU from ‘fascist forces’ in the campus.
On one hand the Congress-backed NSUI’s candidate espoused the ideals of Nehru and Indira Gandhi and said he is here to take to campus forward based on their ideals and on the other hand RSS-supported ABVP’s candidate Ojha, took the Left alliance to task for their involvement in “anti-national activities” and praised the “phenomenal role” played by the lone member from ABVP in the central panel in the outgoing union. Meanwhile, the first time contestant SFS’s candidate Dileep Kumar spoke about “alternative politics” by focusing on campus-centric issues such as revamping of health care, library and civic amenities in the campus.
Although poles apart in ideological leanings, one thread that joined all the four parties was their attack on the ABVP. Similarly, the AISA-SFI alliance was also subjected to repeated attacks as a power-centric alliance from other four groups.
The debate was divided in three sessions. In the first, each candidate was given 12 minutes to lay down their agenda for student’s union. In the second, each candidate asked two questions to their counterparts and in the third session contestants answered question asked by audience. JNU polls is scheduled on Friday. Kanhaiya’s party AISF is not contesting the polls this year.