One of the main issues which ABVP is taking up in this election is asking for heritage status of Punjab University.


NEW DELHI: Punjab University, Chandigarh, is all set to elect its next student union president on 18 October. Apart from PU, 10 other affiliated colleges in the city will also vote for their students’ representatives on the same day. Students’ union elections are conducted annually, but because of the pandemic, elections were on hold since 2019.
Students’ wings of major political parties like Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (BJP), National Students Union of India (Congress), Students Organization of India (Akali Dal), Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (AAP), Students for Society (Left) and Indian National Students’ Organisation (JJP) are in the race to grab the seat of the president.
One of the main issues which ABVP is taking up in this election is asking for heritage status for PU. Harish Gujjar, presidential candidate from ABVP, said: “Punjab University should be given the status of a heritage university. The university is more than 100 years old and with this status coming, it would pave the way for funds,” Gujjar said.
In 2013, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, now called the Ministry of Education, decided to grant a “special heritage” status to universities that have completed 100 years. The idea was to promote excellence in education and recognise the age-old legacy of India’s educational institutes. The heritage status was to be accompanied by a grant of up to Rs 60 crore, along with an annual grant.
CYSS, a newcomer in the election circle, is fighting its first students’ union elections in PU. AAP’s student wing is fighting on the issues of funds. “Procurement of funds from both state and Centre will be our priority,” said Paras Rattan, a functionary of CYSS. CYSS has also promised students two new hostels in the university, one for boys and one for girls.
A month ago, students from different student parties joined AAP in presence of Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal and Punjab CM Maan; this gave a positive push to CYSS. The NSUI is fighting on issues like allotment of hostels for both boys and girls and the condition of hostels. “The condition of washrooms and ventilation in university hostels is pathetic and our main focus is to fix this,” said Parminder Singh Najjar, President of NSUI. Another big issue, which the NSUI is taking up, is “security concerns” inside the campus. For the post of president, ABVP, CYSS and NSUI are seen in stiff competition. There are other issues like shortage of faculty and canteen; tuck shop for South Campus is common among these three student outfits. Both CYSS and NSUI are accusing the university administration of being biased towards them. According to leaders from these parties, the university administration is creating pressure on students to vote for ABVP. The results of the election will be declared on the same day of voting. This year, the university has given two-year relaxation in the upper age limit for contesting the polls. The Punjab University students’ polls have given numerous leaders to the region. This year, around 42 students have filled nominations for the top post.