J&K Lockdown to Amazon Fire, JNU Presidential Debate Had it All

The candidates from the Left Unity, ABVP, BAPSA, NSUI as well as an Independent battled it out at the debate. 

2 min read

Days ahead of the students' union polls at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the energy at its campus in south Delhi is infectious.

The electrifying atmosphere peaked late on Wednesday, 4 September, when the much-anticipated presidential debate was held, seeing candidates from different student groupings taking the stage and battling it out well into the next morning.

Acrimony and festivity went hand-in-hand at the event, replete with the near-constant beating of the drums, sloganeering, taunting, jeering, rhetoric and poetry.

Presidential candidates from contesting organisations – namely the Left Unity, ABVP, BAPSA, NSUI, CRJD and an Independent – brought up a host of issues in their speeches, starting from the abrogation of Article 370 and the situation in Kashmir to even the forest fires in the Amazon. In between featured references to the NRC, the current economic slowdown, hate crimes, the disappearance of Najeeb, as well as some local issues.

Among the candidates in the fray for the top post at the varsity are the Left Unity’s Aishe Ghosh, ABVP’s Manish Jangid, BAPSA’s Jitendra Suna , NSUI’s Prashant Kumar, Chhatra Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Priyanka Bharti and the Independent Raghavendra Mishra, who is also known as the ‘Yogi of JNU’ since he dresses up like UP CM Yogi Adityanath.

Incidentally, the nomination of Mishra, who gave a rather incendiary speech during the debate, had been cancelled by the Election Committee earlier after it was found he was allegedly involved in a brawl and was fined Rs 10,000 for it, PTI reported. However, he re-entered the poll fray after he approached the Delhi High Court, which allowed his candidature at the last moment, the news agency further said.


Pitched Battle Between Left Unity and ABVP

Last year, the Left Unity swept the elections bagging all the four central panel seats of president, vice president, general secretary and joint secretary.

In this year’s election too, one can expect to see a pitched battle between the Left – which comprises the All India Students' Association, Students' Federation of India, Democratic Students' Federation and All India Students' Federation – and the RSS-affiliated ABVP. Meanwhile, the Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association (BAPSA) has emerged as a formidable third force.

The elections at the university are all set to take place on Friday, and the results are expected to come out by 8 September.

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