Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Oct 1:
There will be no students’ union election in Utkal University this year, university authorities announced here this afternoon.
Briefing reporters after the all-important Post Graduate (PG) Council meeting where the decision to scrap polls was taken, Council Chairman Dr RK Bal said; “During the past four days, we have had a series of meetings on the issue. We have come to the conclusion that the law and order situation inside the university campus has not returned to normal to allow holding of polls. So, the PG council meeting unanimously took a decision today to cancel this year’s election in the university.”
A meeting of the advisory committee held yesterday had left the final decision on holding of students’ union on the PG Council.
Almost immediately after the decision on the scrapping of polls was announced, spontaneous protests broke out in the university campus with all three major parties joining in.
Supporters of Biju Chhatra Janata Dal (BCJD), Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Praishad (ABVP) and Students’ Congress staged a demonstration at the university gate waiving placards and banners with messages like “Students’ Power, Nation’s Power”, “We demand election at Vani Vihar campus”, “We demand our right to election”.
“Election is important in a university to run its affairs. We demand our right to have election in the institution,” said Amit Kumar Jena, presidential candidate of the BCJD, slamming the university authorities’ decision to scrap polls.
Congress presidential candidate Subrat Kumar Behera said it was the pre-planned decision of the ruling BJD government as they were fearful of losing the election. “We will fight for our right to have elections; not just this year, but for every year to come. In the coming days, we will protest in front of Governor’s house here to demand the fulfillment of our demand,” he said.
“We want election. The decision of the PG Council is not right. They have forcefully taken our rights by cancelling the election in the university. We want the Vice Chancellor and PG council chairman to resign from their posts,” said ABVP presidential candidate Anirudha Sahoo.
Sensing precisely such a situation, three platoons of police force have been deployed in and around the university campus to maintain law and order. The police force is being supervised by an additional DCP rank officer along with other senior police officers.