Govt defers all college elections by six months

Education Minister Bratya Basu announced today that all college elections in the state would be postponed due to security reasons.

"There are ISC, Madhyamik and madrasah examinations on the cards. Given the present situation, we will not be able to depute enough police postings both at examination centres as well as for the students' elections. Thus the election process has to be deferred by six months," he said at Writers' Buildings today. Soon after, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee echoed his view.

The decision, however, has left authorities of several educational institutions confused.

For example, the Presidency University election was scheduled on March 1. "I have not been intimated about the decision. I have only seen it on TV. Two-thirds of the work is complete. Even the scrutiny process is complete. Only the election remains. I will talk to the minister tomorrow about what we should do," said Malabika Sarkar, vice-chancellor of Presidency University.

On the other hand, the process of submission of nomination papers was completed at Harimohan Ghose College amid very tight security today. Of the 153 nomination forms that were collected, 149 were those of TMCCP candidates and four of Chhatra Parishad (CP) candidates. Today 38 nominations were submitted —- all of the TMCCP's.

A CP supporter said, "The other day TMCCP boys created a lot of chaos and snatched away forms from us. We could collect only four, but contesting in four seats out of 31 is of no consequence, so we decided not to submit the forms at all."

The election was supposed to be held on February 28. Bijoy Acharya, the teacher in charge, said, "I will have to discuss this with members of my department and if necessary talk to the education minister before deciding what is to be done."

All India joint secretary of Students Federation of India Shatarup Ghosh cried foul. "Making hooliganism an excuse, they are stopping a democratic process. The TMC, which came to power with huge support of the people, is now afraid of the people's opinion. They have been badly exposed and fear a washout. Thus this move. We have had elections and examination simultaneously in the past," he said.

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