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JNUSU gets its first Dalit president from Left after nearly three decades

JNUSU gets its first Dalit president from Left after nearly three decades
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) has elected its first Dalit president from the Left-backed groups after nearly three decades. The United Left panel on Sunday effected a clean sweep in the JNUSU elections, defeating its nearest rival the RSS-affiliated ABVP.

In the polls that were held after a hiatus of four years, Dhananjay from the All India Students' Association (AISA) won the JNUSU president's post by securing 2,598 votes against the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad's (ABVP) Umesh C Ajmeera, who secured 1,676 votes.

Dhananjay hails from Gaya, Bihar and is the first Dalit president from the Left after Batti Lal Bairwa, who was elected in 1996-97.

Speaking to PTI after the win, Dhananjay said, "This victory is a referendum by the students of JNU that they reject the politics of hate and violence. The students have once again shown their trust in us. We will continue to fight for their rights and work on issues that concern students.

"The safety of women on campus, fund cuts, scholarship hike, infrastructural and water crisis are among the top priorities of the students' union to begin with," he added.

Amid cries of 'Lal Salaam' and 'Jai Bhim', the winning students were hailed by their supporters, who waved red, white and blue flags to celebrate.

Avijit Ghosh from the Students' Federation of India (SFI) defeated ABVP's Deepika Sharma by 927 votes to win the vice-president's post. Ghosh received 2,409 votes as against Sharma's 1,482.

Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association (BAPSA) candidate Priyanshi Arya, who was supported by the Left, won the general secretary's post by defeating ABVP's Arjun Anand by 926 votes. Arya got 2,887 votes while Anand received 1,961.

The United Left extended its support to Arya after the Election Committee cancelled the nomination of its candidate Swati Singh when her candidacy was challenged by the ABVP.

The Left's Mohammad Sajid won the joint secretary's post by defeating ABVP's Govind Dangi by 508 votes - the lowest victory margin among all the four winners.

With the Left panel sweeping the polls, the JNU lived up to its reputation of being a Left bastion. The ABVP gave a neck-and-neck fight and was leading on all four central panel posts in the initial trends.

The United Left panel comprises AISA, Democratic Students' Federation (DSF), Students' Federation of India (SFI) and the All India Students' Federation (AISF).

Nineteen candidates were vying for positions on the JNUSU central panel and 42 for school counsellors, with eight contenders in the fray for the prestigious role of president.

The central panel consists of president, vice president, joint secretary and general secretary.

The JNUSU polls on Friday witnessed a voter turnout of 73 per cent, the highest in the last 12 years.

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