A day after the Panjab University Students’ Union’s (PUSU) vice-presidential candidate Smriti Brar submitted her representation against the students council poll results, the party has alleged that the Panjab University authorities played a major role in forming the SOPU alliance to ensure that PUSU stood no chance of emerging victorious.
At a press conference that was held on Sunday, Brar alleged that the elections were not held in a free and fair manner and that the authorities followed double standards in dealing with the student parties.
“Yesterday I submitted my representation pointing out various violations by the parties during campaigning and have also asked for an independent body to recount the votes that were declared invalid for the post of vice-president. The figures of invalid votes are ridiculous and they suggest that there is some foul play involved,” said Brar, who lost by a margin of 45 votes.
The number of invalid votes polled for the vice-presidential post was 677, which is 61 votes more than the invalid votes of other posts put together.
On being asked if the poll results would have been in the PUSU’s favour had their alliance partner ,NSUI, supported them strongly throughout, the PUSU party in-charge Sumit Goklaney replied, “Initially, we did face some resistance from NSUI as the nomination of their candidate had been rejected and so we had to field our back-up candidate. However, we soon resolved the issue and got the full support from NSUI.”
Goklaney further said, “It was the authorities who encouraged SOPU to enter into an alliance with HSA, SOI, SFI and INSO (Lathwal group) to ensure that there was no chance of us winning the elections.”
Smriti added that in some departments ballot boxes had been opened and counting of votes had begun even before the party’s polling agents arrived. This, she pointed out, could have given rise to foul play.
Dismissing all allegations, the Dean, Students Welfare, A S Ahluwalia, said that PUSU was crying foul because it lost the elections. “When parties lose they make all kinds of allegations. As far as opening of ballot boxes in the absence of polling agents is concerned, we had prepared a schedule for everything. It is completely their fault that their representatives did not reach on time,” Ahluwalia said.
Citing that recounting had been done in some departments as some complaints were received before the final results were announced,