ABVP makes comeback in JNU; AISF wins president's post

New Delhi: In a major boost to the BJP, RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad made a comeback at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) after 14 years on Sunday by winning the students union joint secretary's post.

The joint secretary's post was won by AVBP's Saurabh Sharma.

The ABVP had last won a post in the JNU elections in 2001 when Sandeep Mahapatra became the president by a vote's margin.

"I am very happy that ABVP made a comeback in JNU after 14 years. I was confidant about my victory as we were fighting on the student welfare issues. I want to thank the students of JNU who showed confidence in me and elected me as their joint secretary," newly-elected joint secretary of JNUSU, Sharma told IANS.

"I also want to thank the JNU unit of ABVP volunteers," he added.

The JNUSU president's post was won by the CPI-affiliated All India Students Federation's (AISF) candidate Kanhaiya Kumar, while vice president and general secretary's posts were retained by Left-leaning All India Students Association (AISA). The seats were won by Shehla Rashid Shora and Rama Naga, respectively.

Listing his priorities for the campus, Sharma said that women security and construction of new hostels would be on the top of his agenda.

"There are several places in JNU which remain dark during night that causes a risk to the security of female students here. I would try my level best to get street lights fixed at these places and ensure women security in the campus in every manner," he told IANS.

JNU poll's chief election commissioner Praveen Thallapelli said, "The poll results were declared at 8 a.m. today (Sunday). Since paper ballots are used for polling and counting is done manually, the counting process takes longer at the JNU."

"The voting percentage at the university is also relatively high. The ABVP made a comeback at the JNU after almost 15 years," he said.

The AISF won the president's post by 67 votes over AISA, while AISA nominee won the vice-president's post against his ABVP rival by 234 votes. For the general secretary's post, AISA candidate defeated ABVP nominee by 213 votes while joint secretary's post was claimed by ABVP, defeating AISA by 28 votes.

Shehla Rashid of AISA is the first Kashmiri woman in JNU history to contest the students' union polls and win in the central panel. She is also this year's highest polled candidate (1,387), according to JNU sources.

"This victory is a mandate for carrying on the struggles for which JNUSU is known. We will carry on the struggle for social justice, gender justice and against privatisation and saffronisation of education," said Shehla after winning the vice president's post.

"We are content with the overall Left mandate, but we have to take cognizance of the proliferation of the right-wing in the campus and work collectively towards establishing a Left-progressive consciousness on the campus," she added.

The students' union elections in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Friday recorded 53.3 percent turnout, a marginal dip over last year, when the turnout was 54.58 percent.

A total of 22 candidates contested the JNUSU central panel that includes posts of president, vice president, general secretary and joint secretary.

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