New Delhi: Beating of drums, motivated speeches and shouting of 'Lal Salaam' marked the Presidential debate at Jawaharlal Nehru University, ahead of its student union elections.
The night long debate, conducted in a US-Presidential style is one of the unique features of the JNUSU elections and is also part of the last leg of campaigning, before the university votes for a new students body.
The varsity goes to polling tomorrow and the results are expected to be declared by September 13.
During the 'high-voltage' debate last night, seven candidates in fray for the post of President deliberated upon strong political and social issues concerning the country and the world as well as micro issues related to the university.
The left-leaning student bodies which dominate the JNU campus, criticised the Narendra Modi government, killings of Govind Pansare and M Karlburgi, Vyapam scam and slashing of education fund.
About the campus issues, requirement of more hostels and campus security topped all contestants' agenda.
"In 2012 AISA had promised that they will make sure 7 hostels are built and again in 2013 they promised of two more hostels but so far nothing has happened. So we need a union now that knows the path of resistance and conciliation," said Paritosh Nath, Students Federation of India (SFI) candidate.
All India Students Federation (AISF) candidate Kanhaiya Kumar criticised AISA of breaking the left unity and practising sectarian politics.
His arguments about fighting the Lyngdoh committee, challenging the religious hegemony and the need to fight for left unity garnered larger rounds of applause from the audience.
The ABVP candidate, Gaurav Kumar Jha tried to justify the ideology of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its relevance in a left dominated campus but was greeted with slogans of "Lal salaam".
A total of 22 candidates are in fray for the Central Panel which includes President, Vice President, General Secretary and Joint Secretary.
The parties contesting the elections include AISA, AISF, ABVP, SFI, National Students Union of India (NSUI), SFI, Democratic Student's Federation (DSF) and Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association (BAPSA).
AISA had swept the JNUSU polls last year bagging all the top four positions, including the President's post, for the second consecutive year.
The Election Committee had introduced None of the Above (NOTA) option last year. Digital voting, which was also introduced for the first time, was widely used by visually-impaired students.