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Hyderabad University: ASA Alliance Beats ABVP in 'Historic' Student Union Polls

For the first time in the university's history, two Dalit queer persons have been elected as members of the union.

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After 40 rounds of counting, the alliance of Ambedkar Students' Association (ASA), Students' Federation of India (SFI), and Dalit Students' Union (DSU) won the University of Hyderabad (UoH) students' union elections late night on Saturday, 25 February.

A three-way contest between three different alliances, this students' union polls was also an election of many firsts – in terms of candidatures. The ASA-SFI-DSU alliance fielded six Dalits in a panel of nine candidates.

For the first time in the university's history, two Dalit queer persons have been elected as members of the union.

Members of the ASA-SFI-DSU alliance celebrating their win.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

This is also the first time in the central university's history that two Dalit queer persons contested and won the students' union polls.

The presidential candidate for the ASA-SFI-DSU alliance, Prajwal Gaikwad, a Dalit-Buddhist queer person, won by a margin of 600 votes. Hritik Laxman Lalan, a Dalit trans woman, also emerged victorious (987 votes) as a candidate for the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH). 

For the first time in the university's history, two Dalit queer persons have been elected as members of the union.

Prajwal Gaikwad with other members of ASA.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

First Election Since Pandemic

The central university in Hyderabad's Gachibowli had its first SU elections in over three and a half years on Friday, 24 February. Over 5,000 students were eligible to vote, and a turnout of 76 percent was recorded.

The elections were held for nine central panel seats, including three members of the GSCASH, 24 school board members, and 30 school councillors.

The ASA-SFI-DSU alliance was contesting against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – which came a close second – and a third front (Alliance for Social Democracy), which consists of parties like the National Students' Union of India (NSUI), Fraternity, Muslim Students' Federation, and others.

The election results were announced late on Saturday, 25 February.

Minor clashes were reported between students affiliated with the ABVP and the SFI near the varsity's F-hostel after the polling late on Friday.

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Speaking to The Quint shortly before the elections, Gaikwad, who is pursuing his PhD in Gender Studies, said that the ASA-SFI-DSU panel had made it loud and clear that "we don't have to depend on anyone to speak for us – we will speak for ourselves."

Both Gaikwad and Lalan are part of the ASA, which Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula was a member of. Vemula died by suicide in 2016 over institutional caste discrimination.

For the first time in the university's history, two Dalit queer persons have been elected as members of the union.

Prajwal Gaikwad with Radhika Vemula, mother of Rohit Vemula.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

For the first time in the university's history, two Dalit queer persons have been elected as members of the union.

Hritik Laxman Lalan, a GSCASH candidate.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

All candidates fielded by the ASA-SFI-DSU panel won their respective posts. Winners included Pruthvi Sai for the vice-president post (1860 votes), Kripa Maria George for the general secretary post (2076 votes), and Kathi Ganesh for the joint secretary post (1617).

Kripa Maria George, who is a member of the SFI, is also the first woman to hold the general secretary post in the students' union.

Meanwhile, Shipha Minz, an integrated student from the Scheduled Tribe community, won the GSCASH post with 351 votes.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  ABVP   SFI   University of Hyderabad 

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