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Battle for Odisha college unions hotting up

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Sep 14:

Campaigning for students’ unions election in colleges and universities in Odisha has reached fever pitch with the students’ wings of all three major political parties in the state working overtime to ensure victory for their candidates in the elections scheduled for September 29.

Photo Courtesy: odishasamaya.com
Photo Courtesy: odishasamaya.com

Prospective candidates backed by the Congress, BJP and BJD have jumped headlong into frenzied campaigning to enhance their prospect ahead of the elections. Throwing the guidelines of the Lyngdoh Committee into the wind, the candidates and their colleagues have adopted all the tricks, fair and foul, adopted in the twin polls held in April this year, to woo the students.

The candidates are bound to abide by the Lyngdoh Committee provisions, which specify the modes of election, code of conduct and expenses to be incurred, among other things.

Since the students spend most of the time on the social media, candidates are making use of this tool to reach out to their prospective voters.

The mood in Utkal University is upbeat even though the Utkal University Post Graduate (PG) Council is yet to declare whether to hold elections this year or not. It will meet on Monday to take a final decision on holding students’ union elections after a gap of two years.

“The PG council meeting would be held tomorrow to decide on holding elections in the university. We will assess the academic situation. If the council is convinced that the atmosphere is favourable for polls, we will certainly hold it,” said PG Council chairman Gopal Panda.

However, considering recent developments, it is quite clear that university authorities and the BJD government are in favour of holding polls in the premier university of the state. After poaching three former presidents of Utkal university students’ union from the Congress party, the ruling party hopes to demolish the Congress fort with the help of the defectors. Former Chhatra Congress president Chinmoy Sahu recently joined BJD along with his supporters promising to hoist the BJD flag in the Congress citadel.

However, its own students’ leaders, disgruntled at being sidelined, are all set to play spoilsport for the well orchestrated plan of BJD.

Biju Chhatra Janata Dal, BJD students’ wing, general secretary Sangram Patra joined the BJP on Saturday. “It had become impossible to function in the party as unruly elements against whom we fought all these years to protect student interests, joined the BJD and took centrestage,” said Patra, a second-year LLB student of the university.

BJP hopes to ensure the victory of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) candidates riding high on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its win at Delhi University.

The demoralised Congress is also striving hard to retain its fort from the foray of other parties. “There would be no impact on the Congress if some people left the party. We are determined to win the polls this time,” said Satyajit Patnaik.