Student unions violating admission norms to win Free Student Union poll


Nirjana Sharma

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With the Free Student Union (FSU) poll set to be held on June 6, student unions aligned with various political parties are doing all they can to win the elections in the Tribhuvan University (TU) constituent colleges. 

The student unions took campus chief and administrative officers of various Valley-based TU constituent colleges hostage till late Friday night as the deadline for students´ admission was coming to an end. 

The student unions have spent millions of rupees to increase voters at most of the TU constituent colleges. 
The cadres affiliated to unions crossed all ethical boundaries on Friday to admit around 1000 new students in the Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus on Exhibition Road, Kathmandu. 

According to Rudra Poudel, campus chief of the Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, around 1000 students were admitted into bachelor´s and master´s programs on Thursday and Friday. “The campus received around Rs 6 million in admission fees within two days,” Poudel said. The admission fee for bachelor level is Rs 4000 and for master level Rs 6000.

According to the eye witnesses, Poudel himself was held by the students till 11 pm on Friday. The campus chief seemed helpless to rejecting the new admissions following the pressure from student leaders.

“Hundreds of students appeared with documents in their hand, I could not deny admission to them,” said Poudel. 

The UCPN (Maoist) aligned All Nepal National Independent Student-Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) cadres made 410 students get admission at the Ratna Rajya campus paying all the required amounts. An administrative official at RR campus said that the ANNISU-R paid Rs 2.5 million to the Jamal-based Nepal Bank as admission fees of more than 400 students on Friday alone.

“The ANNISU-R alone has admitted around 600 students in the college within Thursday and Friday and the rest students were brought by the ANNFSU,” said the official requesting anonymity. 

Similarly, the ANNISU-R admitted 600 new students and submitted Rs 4 million to Minbhawan based-Nepal Commerce Campus. The revolutionary group and the ANNFSU cadres clashed in the campus on Friday evening and the college has been padlocked. The college authority has called all the student wings for dialogue to resolve the issue on Sunday.

Likewise, Thamel-based Saraswati Campus saw similar clash between the ANNISU-R and ANNFSU on the last day of admission. The college has been padlocked indefinitely. The dispute between the revolutionary group and the CPN-UML aligned ANNFSU turned violent on Friday when the ANNISU-R cadres restricted the ANNFSU activists to enter the college while they were admitting students at the Sanothimi Education Campus in Sanothimi, Bhaktapur. The college administration had called security personnel from the Metropolitan Police Circle, Thimi to take the situation under control.

More than 100 students were admitted in Patan Campus on the last date. The Lainchaur-based ASCOL Campus has introduced quota system to resolve the admission dispute. The CPN-Maoist aligned ANNISU-R, ANNISU, ANNFSU and the NSU had divided 28 admission quotas each. 

Meanwhile, the ANNFSU president Madhav Dhungel said that he does not deny the allegations of rampant admissions. However, he also demanded that all admissions in TU constituent colleges after the declaration of poll date be scrapped.

The TU executive committee on Thursday had earlier issued a code of conduct for the FSU election which says that all 13 student wings participating in the poll across the country be committed to fair play. The nine-point code of conduct emphasizes that the polls be held in a friendly environment. Avoiding politics of boycott, controlling unnecessary expenditure, avoiding clashes are major points in the code of conduct. 

Similarly, the student unions should not paint graffiti or put up posters on public walls but are free to distribute pamphlets and election manifestos. However, hoarding boards and wall-paintings of various student groups can already be seen at all campuses. 

The NSU coordinator Karna claimed that his union has been following the code of conduct and has not used money to recruit cadres. Contrary to his claim, the scenario was different at Trichandra College, which has been under NSU influence for several years. 

If one is to go by what the students at Trichandra College have to say, the Nepal Student Union (NSU) and the ANNFSU cadres are in the race to admit maximum number of students. Cadres from both the union admitted more than 100 new students, taking the college authority hostage. The NSU coordinator Ranjeet Karna also got admission in the college Friday night. The administrative officials of the college were also taken hostage as the police watched on helplessly. 

“We are noticing another form of voters´ trade by admitting fake students right before the FSU poll,” said Sharad Rasaili, president of the CPN-Maoist aligned ANNISU-R. His union would obstruct the poll in those colleges where the student wings have brought students just to increase the voters in the poll.

“We don´t need any mechanism like FSU if its representative can´t advocate for students´ welfare and get involved in foul play,” Rasaili said. “Let the FSU get dissolved if it continues to move on the wrong path.”

However, the ANNISU-R President Himal Sharma, who is also the member of TU senate, challenged those who oppose the new admissions to prove the invalidity of the admitted students. “If irregularity from our side is proved, I am ready to take its responsibility,” he added.

Sharma further said that the TU should bring the policy to put a ban on admission in all colleges on the same day when it announces the FSU poll date. 

Meanwhile, the TU´s Student Welfare and Sports Council Chief Ganga Bahadur Thapa said that the constituent colleges have not informed the university about the ongoing anomaly. He added that the college administration is authorized to take actions against any unions if it finds their activities illegal. 

“The TU closed the admissions at all constituent college fearing the fake students´ admission by the union cadre´s like they have been doing in the previous years during elections,” said Thapa, adding, “The respective college authority should deal with the issue."

Source: Republica National Daily