Mumbai: ABVP strikes early at colleges for student elections

The student body is distributing questionnaires to figure out issues ahead of August 2017's university elections

Students go through ABVP questionnaires
Students go through ABVP questionnaires

As student elections are set to make a comeback to Maharashtra campuses after over a decade, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which has generally been a silent students' organisation in Mumbai, is now gaining momentum. Forms with exhaustive questionnaires are being circulated among college students by ABVP urging them to join the ranks.

With questions such as "Rate different services in your college", "What are the problems?" or "Would you like to come forward in joining groups working for development of the college?" ABVP is trying to collect data, which will help them create a strategy for upcoming students' elections.

They have started the exercise with the Vasai and Bhayander areas, having covered six colleges as of now. They will soon move on to other parts of the city and cover as many colleges as they can before August. The 22,000-strong organisation has distributed around 2,000 forms in the first phase.

With the passing of the new Maharashtra University Act, student council elections, which were banned in the year 1992, are to restart. With ABVP's initiative to be aware of the issues that students face, student politics in Maharashtra is expected to take new shape.

Ravi Jaiswal, ABVP's organising secretary at the Vasai Unit, said, "The project has just started. Students are responding to queries and we now have a hint of the kind of issues they would want to get resolved. First and foremost is the issue of cleanliness and hygiene in canteens, and usable, clean toilets for girls."

The city head of the students' organisation spoke openly about how this is a way of creating a base for strategy ahead of campus elections which are to begin in next academic year. An ABPV activist, who didn't wish to be named, said, "While the response is good, we need to remain cautious as college authorities can call it a political stunt."

Students are finding it to be a novel concept. Naresh Purabiya, second year bachelor of finance student from Abhinav College, Bhayander East, said, "I have seen such an activity for the first time. We can hope that the questionnaire does lead to resolving of the issues we face on campus. ABVP has started on a strong note."

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