The recent elections to the students union in JNU happened at a time of unprecedented attacks on JNU and universities across the country. There is a concerted effort to limit the accessibility of affordable quality education by implementing seat cuts in research and other programmes and imposing massive fee hikes. These have been accompanied by increasing attempts to saffronize education through revising content and appointing people close to the Sangh in institutional positions. The democratic spaces of debate, dialogue and critical thinking within and outside campus have been subjected to brutal crackdowns and violence. Legally mandated reservations and hard-won deprivation points are also being systematically removed. It is in this context that the students of JNU voted in large numbers to reject the right wing forces and give an overwhelming mandate given to the United Left panel in the JNUSU elections.
The United Left (AISA – SFI – DSF) has won all 4 central panel seats and 13 councilor posts across SSS, SIS and SL as well as the convenorships in all these schools. Com. Geeta Kumari of AISA was elected as President, Com. Simone Zoya Khan of AISA was elected as the Vice President, Com. Duggirala Srikrishna of SFI as the General Secretary and Com. Shubhanshu Singh of DSF was elected as the Joint Secretary of the union. The left unity defeated ABVP’s candidates by margins of 464, 848, 1107 and 835 votes respectively in the posts of President, Vice President, Gen. Sec. and Jt. Sec.
The students of JNU have given decisive mandate against the right-wing forces that have been demanding shut down of JNU. This victory of the left unity panel also comes in an election when the election for students union was not left to be fought among the students. The JNU administration and the RSS-BJP, along with the formidable university machinery available to them, were part of the ABVP’s support team. The victory of the left forces in JNU is victory for the idea of an inclusive and egalitarian higher education. Com. Geeta Kumari also dedicated the victory to the assassinated journalist Gauri Lankesh who was a strong voice of resistance against the right wing forces and reaffirmed the commitment of the panel to strengthen the students’ struggles in the days to come.