September 21, 2020

Pakoda to Kashmir at students’ poll debate

Patna: The presidential debate on Thursday for the Patna University Students’ Union election reflected the hot-button topics of the country – from pakoda to gau rakhsa, Kashmir to nationalism.

The day-long debate, held on the Patna College campus, saw Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ wing of the RSS, and Chhatra JDU candidates tom-tom the central and state governments’ schemes in higher education. Candidates from Left-leaning organisations, the Chhatra RJD and even the Independents harped on the Centre and the state’s failure in creating employment opportunities.

“Our Prime Minister says that selling pakodas is also a type of employment,” said Radheshyam Mishra, an Independent candidate. “If that is so then we don’t want such type of employment as in future begging on the street too will be peddled as a type of employment as those indulging in begging are also earning money.”

He termed both the central and state governments as anti-youth and anti-student entities whose politics revolves around just giving false assurances and cheating the youths.

Rahul Roy, the united candidate of the Chhatra RJD and the Congress student wing NSUI, said: “The Patna University fraternity on its centenary year celebration had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a hope and expectations that the PM will accord central university status to Patna University, but he cheated the entire PU family.”

Rahul also highlighted the suicide of University of Hyderabad scholar and Dalit activist Rohith Vemula, and the case of JNU student Najeeb Ahmed who has been missing for months after ABVP members allegedly assaulted him.

The Left-leaning student organisations’ combined candidate, Mitu Kumari, accused the Centre of dividing people on religion and caste lines. “The central government, to divert the attention of people from core issues such as employment, improvement in higher education and inflation, is raising the Ganga and gau raksha (cow protection) issues.”

The ABVP presidential candidate, Mukesh Kumar, countered the allegations on expected lines.

“The Left-leaning student bodies’ politics revolves around division of the country,” Mukesh said. “They are the same parties who raised the slogans of Kashmir demands azadi (independence), or Bharat tere tukde honge (India will be broken into pieces) on the death anniversary of Afzal Guru on the JNU campus. Those who are asking questions from the central government on unemployment must answer what they have done in the last 50 years.”

Countering allegations that the ABVP is a student body run by corporates, he said: “I come from a middle-class family, my father is a farmer and mother a homemaker. It is the ABVP which has given ticket to youths from middle-class families.”

The debate, in which each of the 16 candidates spoke for 120 minutes, was inaugurated by Patna University vice-chancellor Rash Bihari Prasad Singh and attended by teachers and officials of the varsity.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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