In the 44-year-old history of Rajasthan University Students Union polls, a girl student was elected president for the first time on Saturday.
Independent Prabha Chaudhary defeated her nearest rival Mahendra Singh Shekhawat, another independent, by a margin of 224 votes. The RUSU vice-president's post, too, was wrested by a girl and independent candidate, Abha Singh Gurjar, a final year student of Maharani's College.
While independent candidates dominated the student union elections in Jaipur, ABVP scored over the NSUI in the rest of the state. At Ajmer's Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati University, the president's post was captured by ABVP's Vikas Chaudhary, while at Udaipur's Mohanlal Sukhadia University, the top post was notched by independent Paramveer Singh Chundawat. Similarly, the Kota University president's post was won by ABVP's Saurav Khandal.
This year's students union elections were marred by sporadic incidents of violence and rejection of politically affiliated student wings like NSUI and ABVP, as rebel candidates dominated the top posts.
In the RUSU elections, Chaudhary, a rebel candidate of NSUI, got 3,637 votes, while Shekhawat, a rebel from the ABVP, pocketed 3,413 votes. NSUI's Manoj Sunda stood third with 2,056 votes and ABVP's Kamal Swami staggered to the fourth position with 1,785 votes. Abha was a rebel from the ABVP and was elected vice-president of Maharani's College last year.
RUSU general secretary's post was won by ABVP's Amit Sharma and the joint secretary's post was won by NSUI's Gaurav Saini.
Violence during voting and counting of results was reported from Jaipur, Bharatpur and Jodhpur. The traditional Jat-Rajput rivalry was revived on the Jai Narayan Vyas University campus in Jodhpur where students' groups clashed and damaged buses. The election results were declared late at night. NSUI candidate Pradeep Singh Rathore was declared as winner of the post for president. In Bharatpur, students damaged police vehicles and set additional district magistrate ML Meena's car on fire. The student-police clash started after NSUI's Manoj Kumari was declared elected for the president's post at the RD Girls College, Bharatpur. The defeated ABVP candidate Sarita Kumari alleged irregularity in counting of votes.
In Jaipur also tension prevailed after Shekhawat demanded recounting of votes after Chaudhary was declared RUSU president. The police, however, pushed him out of the counting hall amid protests by his supporters.
The winning candidates were administered oath at the Rajasthan University campus by vice-chancellor BL Sharma. Chaudhary without sparing a minute requested the V-C to include the RUSU president in the University's Syndicate. "We will consider this proposal," the V-C replied.
Chaudhary received maximum support from Maharani's College besides from the girl students in the university. She attributed her success to the social activist spearheading campaign against corruption, Anna Hazare. "Hazare's agitation formed the basis of our campaign. Students support to third front shows people have rejected bi-polar politics on the campus," she said. Prime on her agenda would be a safe and secure environment for girl students and an overall conducive environment for academics.