Hyderabad: If all goes as planned, the English and Foreign Languages University (Eflu) will soon have students’ council elections after a long gap of three years. Though this is welcome news for the students, the nitty-gritty of the impending polls might just land the university in a controversy. The elections will be held in a month or two, a senior official of Eflu confirmed on condition of anonymity. “The process of elections is being studied. We need to churn out the procedure. But everything will happen only according to the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations without flouting any rules and norms,” the official asserted.
Herein lies the potential for a confrontation between the students and the administration. The students are vehemently opposed to the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations. With the campus rife with speculation that the election notification will soon be issued, the various students’ organisations have decided to submit a representation to Vice-Chancellor Prof Sunaina Singh against implementing the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations.
Mohan Dharawath of the Dalit Adivasi Bahujan Minorities Students’ Association (DABMSA) said, “Now that we have a regular vice-chancellor, the election process is supposed to start this month. We along with the entire student community are going to submit a representation to the vice-chancellor in the next few days.”
The English and Foreign Languages University will soon have students' council elections after three years.
The Telangana Vidhyarthi Vedika (TVV) and the Telangana Students’ Association (TSA) are also opposed to the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations. Their main argument is that Eflu is a Central University with a constitution of its own and hence, need not follow the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations. “We welcome student council elections but strictly oppose the implementation of Lyngdoh Committee recommendations in university elections. We are a Central University and believe implementation of the recommendations is undemocratic and against the autonomy of the university,” said Seetaramulu representing TVV.
One of the most controversial recommendations of the panel pertains to the age limit and recognition of students’ organisations. According to it, the minimum age to contest elections is 17 and maximum is 28. Kotesh, a PhD scholar, argued, “The age factor recommended by the Lyngdoh Committee prevents seniors from contesting students’ elections. If there is no such age bar in general elections, what is the need for it in student body elections?”
Echoing the views of his friends, he further pointed out, “According to the recommendations, students’ organisations without recognition from the government cannot contest. In Eflu’s case, it is unacceptable as most of the students’ organisations in the campus are not backed by political parties outside.”
Students, who are not affiliated to any union/organisation, are, nevertheless, looking forward to the elections. “We have staged so many protests to make our voice heard. This was clearly due to the absence of elected representatives of students. We hope things take a new turn from now on,” said Mukherjee, a BA final year student.
Elections were last held in 2009 in Eflu but then, they had to be cancelled as students weren’t made part of the then election commission. Usually, Eflu conducts simultaneous elections for a Residential Students’ Union and University Students’ Union. The Residential Students’ Union involving students from various departments looks after issues such as hostel, mess and infrastructure etc and the University Students’ Union takes up academic issues. In JNU, Delhi, the elections were banned and the students’ union was scrapped in 2008 for not following the Lyngdoh Panel recommendations. The ban was, however, lifted in 2011.