After a tumultuous pre-election campaigning season, the nomination period for DUSU and college Student Union elections has proven to be no less happening. Amid similar scenes being reported in Hindu College, SSCBS, and Sri Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa College, ‘Venky’ or Sri Venkateswara College (SVC) saw students protesting against the administration to demand an explanation for the grounds on which their election nominations were cancelled.
On September 14, 2023, the administrative body of Sri Venkateswara College (SVC) released the provisional nomination list of candidates for election of Executive Committee of SVC Students’ Union & Central Councillors. This document listed 5 provisional candidates against the post of President, of whom two candidates—Arth Ohlan and Kartikey Tomar—were supported by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) according to our sources. The very next day, however, a corrigendum was issued by the college, removing Kartikey’s name from the list.
Even though the very first list claimed the candidates being “found valid provisionally, after the scrutiny for various posts”, the nomination of Kartikey Tomar was cancelled in the second list reportedly on the grounds of not meeting the attendance criteria. In conversation with DU Beat, Kartikey revealed the explanation he received from the college administration for the cancellation of his candidature.
Nominal list mein mera naam tha, usmein meri attendance poori thi. Par doosri list mein mera naam nahi thi aur admin ka kehna hai ki tumhari attendance poori nahi hai. Ya to meri attendance poori pehle nahi thi ya meri attendance kam karwai gayi hai.
(My name was there on the nominal list and my attendance was complete at that time. But my name was not there on the second list and the admin told me that your attendance was not sufficient. Either my attendance was not sufficient in the first place or my attendance has been reduced by someone.)
He blamed the college administration and election committee for committing such a blunder, if it was a case of the attendance criteria falling short. The latter part of his statement here is referring to a protest that happened on the college premises on the morning of September 15, where he and other sources alleged that “pass-out students” had protested to cancel his nomination. The same was mentioned in a complaint mail sent by Kartikey, addressed to the DU Registrar, Dr Vikas Gupta, Dean of Colleges, Prof. Balaram Pani, DU Proctor, Prof. Rajni Abbi, among other University officials. It read,
My name (Kartikey Tomar) was there in the list. But today a group of opposition students protested in front of the college administration and finally the election officer favored them and finally reduced my attendance by 1%.
One of our sources claimed that these protesting students had belonged to a youth organisation called ‘Happy Club’. We were able to get in conversation with one of the students from Happy Club, and they told us that suspicions arose over Kartikey Tomar’s attendance when they talked to his fellow batchmates.
Classmates ko idea rehta hai kisne kitne lectures attend karein hain… Jab humko doubt hua to humnei strongly is baat par demand rakhi. Administration ne humari sunkar cross-check kiya aur fir list badal di.
(Classmates tend to be aware of who has attended how many classes… When doubt arose, we strongly raised this demand. The administration listened to us and cross-checked (the attendance), after which they changed the list.)
They also informed us that the candidates from Happy Club have won both the posts of Vice-President and Secretary unconstested.
The provisional list of candidates is supposed to provide a final window to candidates to withdraw their nominations. ABVP activists from the college informed that they had submitted the withdrawal of Arth Ohlan’s nomination on their own volition, since the latter “was a second-year student and we thought it would be better for him to contest as President next year”. However, with the cancellation of Kartikey’s nomination, ABVP is left with no valid candidates on the final list for the post of President of Sri Venkateswara College Students’ Union.
In view of the same, Saturday, September 16, saw sloganeering and protests by ABVP activists in the Sri Venkateswara college premises. Protesting students gathered outside the administration office and messages circulating on social media also claimed that students had locked professors and staff inside a room. While the validity of the latter claim could not be fully confirmed, one of the protestors present on-ground did strangely admit during our conversation,
Ek hi professor hain jo apni marzi se ander baithe hain. Bas hum unhein bahar nahi aane de rahe.
(There is only one professor sat inside willingly. We are just not letting them come out.)
They also said that the door had been locked by the guards from the outside.
This is not the first time an incident like this is happening. Reports have been floating around of candidate’s nominations being cancelled allegedly without satisfactory explanations and students protesting against the same. The latest updates on the situation in SVC have informed that the Hostel Warden and another professor of the college advised the protesting students to send a mail to the Grievances Redressal Cell, along with assuring that their demands will be formally heard on Monday morning. Students wait in anticipation for the redressal of their grievances.
Featured Image Credits: EducationWorld