The United Left Alliance may have swept the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) polls, but the high number of votes polled in favour of NOTA (none of the above) option could well be an indicator of the increasing dissatisfaction with the Left-wing politics.
On all posts, other than the post of president, the percentage of people choosing NOTA rose significantly from previous years. In the central panel, a total of 1,512 NOTA votes were polled for all the four posts. In the vice-president and joint secretary post, the number of NOTA votes were 495 and 501 respectively. A total of 4,620 valid votes were polled in these elections.
An absolute comparison of the number of NOTA votes from the year before, however, could not be made due to the seat cuts across academic programmes. The JNU administration had cut nearly a 1,000 seats. Research courses in the humanities stream bore the maximum brunt of the trimming in strength.
Rise in NOTA 'good news' for ABVP?
The huge number of people opting for NOTA is largely perceived to be an indicator of the rising anti-incumbency with the Left-wing politics. In the highly opinionated high pitch polls, traditionally, the right-wing votes are never transferred to NOTA.
The option is reflective of the mood of students disenchanted with the incumbent student union's functioning yet too Left-leaning to go out and choose the right-wing ABVP.
However, statistically, the biggest loser in the rise of NOTA was Congress-backed National Students Union of India. Although it was never a game-changer in the Left bastion, this year, NSUI did not even manage as many votes as NOTA.
Compared to 728 votes, that the four candidates of NSUI bagged, NOTA was chosen by 1,512 — more than double the number of students.
"Candidate-wise, NSUI's presidential candidate got 82 while there were 127 NOTA. For the post of vice-president, Francis Lalremsiama got 201 compared to 495 NOTA. For general secretary, Preeti Dhruve got 223 votes while 389 students opted for NOTA and joint secretary aspirant Alimuddin got just 222 votes against NOTA tally of 501," Hindustan Times reported.
Simply put, more people would not make a choice in the elections than see a NSUI candidate take their vote.
The BJP-backed ABVP, however, emerged as the single largest party on campus, garnering 950-odd votes on average for every central post, and over 10 councillor posts at the school-level, primarily from science.
It managed to come second in all four central panel posts — president, vice-president, general secretary and joint secretary — building on last year's two runner-up positions. Birsa Phule Ambedkar Students' Association's (BAPSA) vote share was the casualty as the Ambedkarite party was pushed down to the third position.
ABVP also consolidated its stronghold of the School of Sciences, from where its presidential candidate Nidhi Tripathi secured more votes than any other candidate.
However, as compared to 1,200 total last year, ABVP's votes went down but again, due to the seat cuts, an absolute percentage-wise comparison of dip or rise in vote share was not possible.
ABVP office bearers, however, remain buoyant in defeat and say they have made inroads into ULA's vote share.
This comes in the backdrop of raging student issues like Najeeb Ahmed's disappearance, infrastructural issues, demand for increased gender equality, seat cuts in research courses. Perhaps, amid the raging Red vs Saffron debate and hegemony of party politics, student issues have a taken a back seat.
Updated Date: Sep 11, 2017 16:40 PM