New Delhi: As cries of Lal Salaam resonated through the air, the members of the United Left front which won all four central panel posts in Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) election, took out a victory march through the campus.
The newly-elected leaders, president N Sai Balaji, vice-president Sarika Chaudhary, general secretary Aejaz Ahmed Rather and joint secretary Amutha Jayadeep, were carried on shoulders by their supporters, who waved red flags and shouted slogans while playing dhaplis and dhols.
The victory march started from the School of International Studies and ended at the famous Ganga Dhaba.
The Left-backed All India Students' Association (AISA), Students' Federation of India (SFI), Democratic Students' Federation (DSF) and All India Students' Federation (AISF) had come together to form the 'United Left' alliance.
AISA's Balaji said the victory was of students and for all those who have fought for the cause of higher education and against campus violence. Balaji, a first year PhD student of School Of International Studies, is from Telangana and has been associated with the AISA since 2014.
In 2014, he had contested the councillor elections but had lost. The next year, he won the councillor elections.
"Right after the presidential debate, the kind of reception I was getting, I was expecting that we would touch 2,000 votes but I never expected the margin would be this huge. This is beyond expectation," he said, adding the vote share has also improved from last year.
He defeated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) candidate Lalit Pandey, who garnered 982 votes, by a margin of 1,179 votes.
"The vice-chancellor should be removed. We will take up the issue of fund cuts for MPhil and PhD students and fight for bringing back the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment which was dismantled by the administration," Balaji added.
Sarika Chaudhary of the DSF, garnered 2,692 votes and trounced ABVP candidate Geetasri Boruah by a margin of 1,680 votes. Boruah secured 1,012 votes. She is a student of School of Social Sciences.
"It was not expected that we would win by this huge a margin. This win is a reflection of Left Unity and the students' mandate. Our institution, its culture of democracy and debate is under attack by the vice-chancellor.
"Our canteens would run 24X7 but now they are shut by 11 pm. I would work towards ensuring that the canteens stay open for the students like earlier times," she said.
Aejaz Ahmad Rather of the SFI polled 2,423 votes and won the post of general secretary, by defeating Ganesh Gurjar of the ABVP, who secured 1,123 vote,s by 1,300 votes.
"It was expected that we would win by this margin. The ABVP resorted to violence on Saturday after they saw they were losing. We will oppose the anti-student policies and the vice-chancellor, who is working at the behest of the RS should be removed," he said.
Amutha Jayadeep of the AISF defeated ABVP's Venkat Choubey by 800 votes to win the post of joint secretary. Amutha bagged 2,047 votes as against Choubey's 1,247.
"There are many issues that have to be addressed -- the dismantling of GSCASH, seat cuts for MPhil and PhD students and the availability of subsidised education for common students," she said.