New Delhi: The keenly-contested Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) polls witnessed a 67.9 per cent voter turnout on Friday, believed to be the highest in seven years, even as the Delhi High Court ordered a stay on the announcement of results.
Last year, the polling percentage was 67.8. The JNUSU poll committee accused the dean of students of "interfering" in the election process by entering the polling venue when the first phase of voting was underway.
Of the 8,488 registered voters, 5,762 cast their votes. In 2017 and 2016, the voting percentage was 59. In 2015, the it was 55. In 2013 and 2014, the percentage hovered around 55 while in 2012, the voter turnout was 60 per cent.
The Delhi High Court ordered a stay on Friday on the declaration of the poll results till 17 September, when it will take up the matter again. "It is directed that the declaration of the final results shall be subject to further orders to be passed by this court.
Further, the university is directed not to notify the results till the next date of hearing," the court said in its order.The JNU election committee said it was yet to take a final decision on counting of votes following the high court order.
The results were supposed to be declared on 8 September. A total of 14 candidates are in the fray for the election, for which the first phase of polling was held from 9.30 am to 1 pm and the second phase from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm.
The counting of votes is supposed to commence from 9 pm.
"The chairman of the university's Grievance Redressal Cell (GRC), who is also the Dean of Students' Affairs, interfered in the election process by coming inside the polling venue. This is a clear violation of the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations and also of a high court order," JNU Election Committee chairperson Shashank Patel said.
He, however, did not comment on the action taken by the poll panel on the violation. The dean of students, Umesh Kadam, did not respond to calls and messages for a comment on the issue.
As polling was underway, supporters of various political outfits were seen flocking outside the voting centres and raising slogans.
While the Left supporters were raising the "lal salaam" slogan with red colour smeared on their faces and daflis in their hands, chants of "bharat of Mata ki Jai" and "vande mataram" reverberated among the members of the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
"We are confident of retaining all the four seats. People outside may say anything, but those in the JNU are wise enough to see through what is being fed to the country in the name of development," Aishe Ghosh, the Left candidate for the post of president, said.
Ghosh, a member of the Students' Federation of India (SFI), has been fielded by the Left Unity, an alliance comprising the All India Students' Association (AISA), the Democratic Students' Federation (DSF) and the All India Students' Federation (AISF), besides the SFI.
Earlier the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) had said all arrangements were made for the polls, "which will see 8,700 students casting their votes through ballot papers". Amid slogans of "jai bhim", "lal salaam", "vande mataram", some booing and a minor clash, the presidential debate was held at the JNU campus late on Wednesday.
The event, a sought-after affair on the lines of the US presidential debates, is usually a deciding factor in the students' union polls.
The Left Unity and the ABVP have fielded candidates for all the posts, while the Congress-affiliated National Students' Union of India (NSUI) has fielded only one candidate for the president's post.
The Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association (BAPSA) is contesting for the posts of president and general secretary, while the Chhatra Rashtriya Janata Dal, the students' wing of the RJD, is contesting for the posts of president and vice president.
Independent candidate Raghavendra Mishra, who sports saffron robes and is known as the "Yogi of JNU", is also contesting for the post of president.
Updated Date: Sep 06, 2019 22:56:33 IST