Thursday, September 10, 2009

It’s not that easy, says the EC!

The Election Commission (EC), the most powerful authority in the university to take decisions regarding the Students’ Union is not having the best of times. A body that should be in charge a maximum of ten days only has been carrying out their responsibilities for close to twenty days now, thanks to a postponed polling and counting.

It is recommended that the entire process of elections, commencing from the date of filing of nomination papers to the date of declaration of results, including the campaign period, should not exceed 10 days.

(Clause 6.4.1, Lyngdoh Committee Report)

EC members, who have not been attending classes or taking part in any academic activity since the election procedure commenced, were therefore deeply unsatisfied with the decision of the Dean of Students' Welfare (DSW) to defer the counting process on September 8th, Tuesday. They told the UoH Dispatch Team that according to the DSW, this happened due to a 'miscommunication' between the Vice Chancellor (VC) and him. This was in lieu of the confusion that was going on inside the Lecture Hall Complex (LHC) opposite Students’ Canteen, the venue of the counting process.

One of the EC members, who did not want to be named, told us that the VC gave a nod for counting on September 8th on condition that there was adequate security to handle any potential disturbance. However, the DSW announced that due to undisclosed problems, the counting had to be stopped. The EC asserts that there was enough security at that point of time and that the DSW succumbed to the pressure from political parties.

They were also irked by the fact that DSW did not announce a specific date as to when counting could resume. Also, the ballot boxes had been broken by the EC and as per norms, the counting should not have been postponed; thus exposing the ballot boxes to a serious security threat. The members thus went ahead and submitted a letter to the DSW that they would boycott the election process unless a specific and not-so-late date was allotted.

Meanwhile, the EC is facing widespread allegations that the electoral process was rigged with their knowledge. The NSUI-ASA-DSU alliance came out with pamphlets and mismatching figures of ballot papers on Wednesday morning itself. However, the discrepancies in the ballot paper, according to the EC, are misrepresented in the exaggerated figures that are floating around.

“This dillydallying is bound to create bad blood among the students. University authorities should settle the things across the table to put an end to this unsavory episode,” a faculty member told the UoH Dispatch team on condition of anonymity. The looming uncertainty has already caused isolated cases of violence on campus with one SFI member getting assaulted.

Speaking to us, some members of the EC expressed apprehension that the longer it takes to start the counting process, the greater are the chances of vandalism with the ballot boxes. They also said that they are unhappy with the way the DSW convened the Grievance Redressal Committee meeting without calling for any representation from the EC.

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