Indiana Daily Student

Students rally around elections

Many University of Hyderabad professors are canceling class today.

This time, it’s not because of a festival or religious holiday. It’s for student union elections.

From 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., students will vote for their next president, vice-president, general secretary, joint secretary, sports secretary and culture secretary.

Unlike IU Student Association elections, where general student apathy can result in a single ticket running for office, students here take electing their representatives seriously.

Huge banners and posters displaying the names of candidates are plastered around campus, urging students to vote for their party.

Most of the parties are running social media campaigns for the first time this year, which includes an incessant amount of self-promotional postings to the university’s Facebook page.

Even without campaigning, students would recognize the names of almost all the candidate’s parties.

In India, student organizations are registered and regulated at a national level.
Party platforms might vary slightly depending on the university, but values and ideology do not.

Some of the biggest student organizations are affiliated with national political parties and associations as well.

The National Students Union of India is the student branch of the Indian National Congress party, one of two major political parties in India.

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad is associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an Indian right-wing nationalist organization.

Previously allied with the Ambedkar Students’ Association, the Student Front of India will run on an independent ticket this year.

In its place, multiple student groups joined together to form a singular ticket called the United Democratic Alliance.

The alliance includes the ASA, Bahujan Students’ Front, Dalit Students’ Union, Tribal Students Front, Madiga Students Front and the Telangana Students Association, according to the Times of India.

There are enough acronyms to make one’s head spin.

Luckily, there are less student names to remember than organizations. In total, five students are running for president for the 2013-14 student union board.

Three to four candidates are competing for each of the remaining positions.

Polling stations are set up in most major academic buildings. Very specific instructions on how to fill out ballots are posted on the university website.

A main campaign issue in this election — and nearly every election, according to my peer tutor — is the quality of dormitories and other amenities on campus.

SFI promised to continue opposing the university administration’s decision to sell off campus land to private contractors.

Of course, the issue of Telangana statehood plays out on a campus level, too.

The Hindu reports students are most likely to vote based on social issues.

If UDA wins, it might indicate students are more considered with statehood than rising tuition costs.

Regardless of the results, it’s refreshing to see students participating in campus elections.

­— kmthacke@indiana.edu

Follow columnist Kate Thacker on Twitter @katelynthacker.

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