Nandigram Effect: SFI Loses Union Polls in Jadavpur, JU, JNU
Students’ remarkable participation in the campaign against the Nandigram massacre and SEZ corporate land grab has shown dramatic results in student union elections in JNU as well as various institutions in West Bengal.
In JNU, re-elections were recently held to one Councillor post each in School of Social Sciences (SSS) and School of International Sciences (SIS) where candidates from SFI and AISA had tied in the November JNUSU elections. The re-elections were widely seen as a referendum on the SEZ policy and Nandigram massacre, where SFI had been defending the SEZ policy and CPI(M)’s actions in Nandigram, while AISA had been spearheading a campaign demanding scrapping of SEZs and against the Nandigram massacre.
In SSS, AISA candidate Sucheta De won a convincing victory with 339 votes (out of 690 votes polled, therefore nearly 50% of total votes polled) while the SFI candidate polled 215 votes. And in SIS, AISA candidate Arundhati Choudhury tied yet again - this time with ABVP, on 117 votes, while SFI polled 99 votes. AISA has proved its mettle as the champion of democratic movements as well as the Left force that is challenging ABVP on the campus.
Meanwhile on 27 March, SFI lost its hold on the Jadavpur University Arts Faculty to the independent platform FAS. On 3 April, FETSU (JU’s Engineering Faculty Union) was retained by DSF, and on 5 April the Jadavpur University Science Faculty was retained by WTI (We The Independents), with SFI losing the one post it did have. SFI cadres, two teachers of Jadavour University as well karamcharis belonging to CPM attacked the victory procession with rods, injuring several students. This led to a clash on the campus at the Science Faculty (from where attacks were launched by CPM).
At Presidency College, elections are held at two levels, with class representatives being elected and then electing office bearers from among themselves. On 27 Feb, elections for Class Representatives were held. Seeing it to be a close call, SFI demanded a repoll and got the elections to office bearer posts postponed. Eventually these polls to the panel were held on 4 April (after the March 14 massacre). As a reaction to Nandigram massacre, 6 out of SFI’s 33 class representatives revolted and stayed away from the panel polls. One of these six had brother who had been killed in the violence at Nandigram. Seeing inevitable defeat, SFI did not participate in the polls, and the Independent Consolidation won.
At Bidhannagar College, Nandigram College, and Bhangur College, too, SFI lost its hold on the Unions. At Srirampur Girls’ College SFI lost many posts and in Kolkata University Union polls held in April, where SFI never lost a single post before, independents won 12 posts.