A few details pertaining to the previous academic year 2016-17 Students’ Union election at the University of Hyderabad is as follows;
Ultimately, this election witnessed the fruitful and victorious emergence of the United Front for Social Justice (UFSJ). UFSJ comprised various student organisations like Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Dalit Students’ Union (DSU), Tribal Students’ Forum (TSF), Bahujan Students’ Front (BSF), Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika (TVV) as electoral alliance partners. Ambedkar Students’ Association (ASA) contested as a separate panel entity; though there were high range expectations that ASA will become part of UFSJ. The ASA’s contestation as an independent electoral group of a body made many disappointed, and some even accused ASA by attributing evil motives in various forms.
This election took place after the Univerity of Hyderabad witnessed an unprecedented global attention in the wake of the unfortunate suicide of one of the Ph.D., Research Scholars, i.e., Mr Rohit Vemula. The death of Rohit Vemula attracted global attention towards projected and alleged caste discrimination on the University of Hyderabad campus in particular and on other academic institutions across India, in general.
This 2016-17 election also witnessed an unprecedented focus. One of the focal centres of concern was; why a united student body, which led a glorious revolutionary democratic battle against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Vice Chancellor Prof Podile Appa Rao, etc. got disunited and contested elections? A large chunk of the University student body, comprised almost all the student organisations, expect ABVP, came under two platforms: ‘Justice for Rohit Vemula & Joint Action Committee For Social Justice’ and led a massive revolutionary democratic battle against the groups mentioned above and Vice Chancellor. This large-scale student organisations activism was expected to retain and sustain during this electoral contestation in the form of electoral alliance. But, such expectations, in reality, saw disunity in electoral collaboration.
By the time of the 2016-17 election, these two platforms; ‘Justice for Rohit Vemula & Joint Action Committee for Social Justice’ activities got declined. Critics observed that the reduction of these two platforms activities had to do something with the ensuring and forthcoming elections for that academic year. All this indicates: politics, though openly not acknowledged, is well mastered and practised by various student organisations and sections. And, it took some time for others to realise realities, especially for those whose expectations were very high after witnessing high-level student activism in the form of Justice for Rohit Vemula, etc.
Allegations and counter allegations also went-on high during this electoral process and immediately after completion of the electoral process also this tempo continued. It was highly alleged that ASA was the prime responsible student organisation for betraying the spirit of possible electoral collusion of all the participated teams in the Justice for Rohit Vemula movement. But, ASA justified and propagated that it fought as an independent electoral body since it got betrayed by other co-students organisations (ASA allegations over disappointment should be ascertained and seen separately)!! But, such charge and propagation of ASA got negated by other co-student organisations, which colluded under UFSJ for electoral gain. Among all the colluded partners under UFSJ; BSF took the lead and criticised ASA, as ASA possessed evil motive, for failing to join UFSJ and making unjustified allegations against UFSJ partners. BSF accused ASA has had hand-in-glove with the Indian National Congress (INC) and National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) for not joining the alliance under UFSJ. While BSF expressed such opinion publicly, some others too expressed such opinion in informal ways.
All this indicates that the University range elections, at the University of Hyderabad level, are getting entwined with the mainstream political atmosphere, which was not the case until a few years ago. In fact, in the past, almost all the Student organisations desired to have wider exposure to their political activism in the mainstream media with public attention and concern. Such wish of them started to fruity slowly over the past few years in various respects. The University of Hyderabad’s, unseen alumni role is also prominent, in getting this University into the public limelight over the past few years.