After eight long years, ABVP (Akhil Bharathiya Vidyarthi Parishad) at University of Hyderabad swept the polls at the University of Hyderabad (UOH). Aarti Nagpal, who won the presidential seat, is the second woman to be elected to the post in the university’s history.
There were three fronts who contested the election this year. Ambedkar Students Association (ASA) led United Democratic Alliance (UDA) which saw 7 parties coming together- DSU (Dalit Students Union), BSF (Bahujan Students Front), TSF(Tribal Students Federation), NSUI (National Students Union of India), SIO (Students Islamic Organisation) and MSF(Muslim Students Federation) ; an ABVP led alliance with OBCF (Other Backward Students Federation) and the newly found Sevalal Vidyarthi Dal while SFI contested alone. The election results come as a surprise to both UDA and SFI since the for the past 8 years, the Union was either led by SFI or the ASA or by an alliance between them both.
“ABVP has been having a constant stronghold in the campus since the past two years. This time as there wasn’t an alliance between SFI and ASA, it was imperative for ABVP to bank on it and campaign accordingly. Putting up a female candidate helped in pulling more neutral votes. This year’s UOH- SU election was reduced to a mere number game.” says Bhavana Murali, a second year MA Communication student from the University.Many students are of the opinion that the lack of an alliance between ASA and SFI was crucial in deciding the results.
On the campaigning front, both SFI and ASA failed to mobilise students. SFI went with the campaign slogan ‘Save Campus Democracy, Defeat Communalism, and Protect Higher Education’ and was unwilling to have an alliance with SIO, MSF and NSUI due to irreconcilable ideological differences.
On the other hand, ABVP’s election campaign ‘HCU Deserves Better’ focused on basic issues on campus. Starting from food in the mess to safety of women in the campus, the campaign was centered on campus concerns. “I propose a union where students are the centrepiece of decision making. Eve-teasers won’t go unpunished. Student Unions till now have reduced us to mere numbers. Accountability is a word alien to them,” said Aarti Nagpal in her presidential debate.
“We might have lost an electoral fight but the battle against communalism and commercialization of education is on. And it shall continue with more conviction and more determination. Be it students’ issues or larger socio-political issues, we will be at the forefront with the flag of Independence-Democracy-Socialism as ever. The trust that has been reposed on us by students will not go in vain. We were, we are, and we shall always be here to carry forward the legacy of study and struggle,” says Arif Ahammed, the ex-General Secretary of UoH-SU from SFI.
The Ambedkar Student’s Association (ASA) also vowed to continue their movement on campus. “We thank all the students who had voted for the UDA panel having faith in the emancipatory politics we represent. Our fight for social justice and emancipation shall go on.Jai Bhim!” wrote Ambedkar Students Association in its thanking note.