The red flag has been unfurled at the Jawaharlal Nehru Univeristy (JNU) campus again.
The ultra-left All India Students’ Association (AISA) won the prestigious JNU students’ union (JNUSU) elections, held after a gap of four years. AISA has won all four seats in the central panel.
There were 27 contenders in the fray with the SFI- AISF (Student Federation of India- All India Student Federation) as the main opponents to AISA.
“AISA’s win vindicates our vision of a socially inclusive, accessible and affordable campus. It is a mandate in favour of people’s movements struggling against SEZs, AFSPA and Operation Green Hunt,” said Sucheta De, the newly elected presidents of JNUSU.
AISA’s Abhishesk Kumar Yadav has been elected vice- president of JNUSU. Ravi Prakash Singh and Firoz Ahmed are the new general secretary and joint secretary of the union.
On Thursday, 61 per cent of JNU students voted to elect the central panel and 29 councillors in 12 schools of the university.
Results for the seats of councillors, which had started pouring in on Friday, revealed the lead AISA had. It was expected that continuing the trend, AISA, the student front of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, would bag the top posts in the central panel.
Since Friday noon, SFI- AISF supporters were seen leaving the white tent outside the School of International studies (SIS), scene of polling action.
“Naxalbadi Laal Salaam,” shouted the AISA supporters as and when the results were announced over loudspeaker from the SIS building, where counting started on Thursday night.
AISA candidates have won all five seats for councillors at the School of Language, Literature and Cultural Studies (SLL&CS). It has won four out of five seats in the School of International studies (SIS) as well as in the School of Social Sciences (SSS).
In total, AISA has bagged 17 out of 29 councillor posts in 12 schools. It has won the convener- ship of six schools.
Though the newly elected students’ body will be dissolved in October for fresh elections, the current exercise is seen as a victory of JNU students who had moved Supreme Court demanding a stay on the ban on student’s elections. The apex Court had imposed the ban in 2008, three days before the varsity was to observe polling.
The Court had found the university, violating the Lyngdoh committee recommendations for students’ elections, issued in 2006. AISA was dominating the JNUSU at the time of the Supreme Court’s verdict.
In December last year, the Court gave a go- ahead for JNUSU elections with relaxed Lyngdoh committee recommendations.
JNUSU elections are unique as the main fight has always been between the Left outfits, unlike the students’ elections in Delhi University and other higher education institutions where ABVP (student wing of BJP) and NSUI (student wing of Congress) dominate the exercise.
AISA’s won is seen as coming of age for the student outfit which was patronized by left leader Comrade Chandrashekar Prasad during 1980s. Prasad, an ideal for many student leaders in JNU, was JNUSU vice-president in 1993-94 and president for the next two terms. In March 1997, he was shot dead while speaking at a public rally in Siwan district of North Bihar.
In the following decade, the student body did not have much say in the campus politics of JNU. In 2001, ABVP candidate Sandeep Mehta was elected to the post of president of JNUSU by one vote. It made the situation worse for the AISA, as in the coming elections, the Left vote consolidated to SFI- AISF combine.
However, AISA leaders Mona Das and Sandeep Singh continued to lead the outfit.
AISA shot back to limelight in 2003. It supported the Nandigram and Singur people’s movements and lobbied with the students of the varsity on these issues. Reportedly, some JNU students led by the AISA even went to West Bengal as a show of solidarity .
In 2005, AISA was at the forefront of the movement to remove a Nestlé outlet from the campus premises.
In 2007, the organisation was successful in convincing the varsity administration to acknowledge madrassa certificates for admitting students.