Campuses across the state are geared up for student union elections today. Polling is scheduled to start between 8 am and 12 noon in various institutions and will be over by 2 pm, government sources said.
Counting will start soon after polling. Elected representatives will take oath on Saturday before the educational institutions close for puja vacation.
Barring stray incidents, the electioneering has been largely peaceful so far. Ekamra (degree) College in the city had to cancel the ‘Why I stand’ meeting on Thursday following a mild tension in the college after a similar meeting of the Ekamra (Junior) College. “There was a minor altercation after some mischief mongers blasted a cracker. We cancelled the ‘Why I stand’ meeting for undergraduate students. The elections, however, will be held as per schedule,” said students’ union associate advisor of the college Parikhit Das.
Student leaders and their supporters on Thursday mostly concentrated on some last-minute SMS campaign to remind their voters of the Big Day.
Overall, electioneering was subdued in the city. Utkal University remained out of the election process. Activities in BJB College, RD Women’s College and Maharshi College somewhat made up for the missing action, however. “The process has been extremely peaceful in our college so far, probably the most nonviolent election in the history of BJB Autonomous College,” said BJB principal Suresh Patnaik.
The election process was low-key in Sambalpur town as well. Nobody could file nominations for the presidential post at GM Autonomous College. “After a flip-flop, when the college decided to hold election on the nomination day itself, no student could prepare documents to file nomination papers,” said Saurav Mahapatra, convenor of western Odisha students’ joint action committee.
The process evoked poor response in Sambalpur University too as majority of students have already left for home for an extended puja vacation. “Some students have left for puja, which is nothing unusual. The poll process, however, has been extremely peaceful this year,” said Sukadeba Naik, chairman of the varsity’s PG council.