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Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal: CM says student union elections to be held after Durga puja

August 29, 2023
Mita Mukherjee

The long pending students union elections in West Bengal will be held after Durga puja, chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Monday.

“I will ensure that the student union elections are conducted again. Wait till the celebration of Durga puja is over. Arrangements will then be made to conduct the student polls,” Mamata said addressing a function to observe the foundation day celebration of Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad, the student wing of her party today.

She said that her government needs to place an amendment bill to hold the student polls which are due in the state-aided colleges and universities for more than six years.

Polls in unitary universities like Presidency and Jadavpur Universities were held last in December 2019. Elections in colleges affiliated to universities were last held in 2016.

“The bill will be placed in the next Assembly session. The student polls will be held immediately after the bill gets passed,” Mamata said.

But she cautioned students that there should be no untoward incident centering the polls and outsiders will not be allowed to interfere in the elections.

“ You must promise that you will not create trouble during the polls. I know Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad supporters don’t create trouble. There are groups affiliated with the CPM, BJP and Congress that tend to create trouble. But you remain calm even if these groups try to provoke you in creating trouble. I will ask the police to ensure that no outsiders are allowed inside the campuses,” the chief minister said.  

The chief minister had in an interview with a Bengali news channel a few years ago had recommended the student union election model followed by St. Xavier’s College as “good” in order to keep campuses free of mainstream politics. She had urged the state higher education department to see if the same model could be adopted for conducting the student polls in state-aided colleges and universities. She wanted the St. Xavier’s model because at this institution political parties have no role to play in student union elections. Political leaders from outside do not interfere in the student body polls, a system that is being practiced in the state-aided colleges for many years.

In Bengal campus violence during student body elections are common because of the involvement of local party leaders in the polls.   

The Left parties had been pressing the government to hold student union elections across colleges and universities as it had been in limbo for many years.

In her speech, Mamata today also hit out at ABVP and BJP activists who recently raised “goli maro “ slogans at Jadavpur University. She said she has instructed the police to arrest those involved in such hate slogans at the campus.

Also read: West Bengal: CM Mamata Banerjee launches anti-ragging helpline

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