Opinion: Do The Benefits Of Student Elections Outweigh The Cons?

I happen to have studied in three different government universities, and so, have the unfortunate opportunity of witnessing student elections in all three of them. From what I saw, it seemed like they were nothing but a waste of time and money as their outcomes hardly affected most students. Student elections are no more than the same recurring ugly story with different actors every year.

During the election season, seldom a day passes without news of fights among different student bodies appearing in news broadcast or newspapers. With every passing year, incidents of confrontations have only been increasing.

Casualties as a result of violent clashes, which are often accompanied by the use of canes and sticks, and infrequently with knives and daggers, are reported every year. Stone pelting amongst student organisations became a common affair and once in a while, episodes of shots being fired have also been registered. These situations are not limited to any particular state or university but have become a generic problem throughout India.

Wherever there are elections, there are clashes because it has come to be a fight for prestige. For this very reason, most political parties in our country have established their units amongst the students. From what I have witnessed, I feel that if students have any demands, those ought to be fulfilled by the government.

If educational institutions are facing a shortage of staff then it is the responsibility of the government to mend the matters. The Vice-Chancellors and Principals appointed by the government must pay attention to any kind of deficit that exists and take appropriate actions to resolve the same. The officials must try to find out the solution to the issues that are plaguing the students. If they find themselves unable to resolve any issue then they must inform the government of the same.

Representational image.

Elections in the educational institutions have terribly affected their environment. The institutions which should be blossoming with the aroma of knowledge are reeking with jealousy, bias, and animosity. Many precious lives are being wasted in these elections. A few years ago, a professor at a university in Madhya Pradesh lost his life during the election turmoil. What crime had he committed that he lost his life to the dirty game of political factions? It is from these very educational institutions that we get citizens who take the country forward. The kids of today are the successors of tomorrow. If they will keep themselves immersed in such futile matters, when will they study?

All parents expect that their children will find good jobs after the completion of their education. They leave no stone unturned and sweat blood to make sure that their children are not deprived of any facilities. Some even take loans to fulfill the necessities of their kids with high hopes that their child would one day become abled enough to repay the loans.

Representational image. Photo by Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images.

A few years ago, a case of some drunken students beating up and tearing off the uniform of an on-duty cop during elections was reported in Chandigarh. When a uniformed police officer is not safe, how can a common man feel safe? The use of alcohol, money, and muscle has come to become an entwined part of student elections. I think these elections can be thought of as mini-model of the state elections.

I have seen how contestants in these elections mostly don’t belong to any common family but are related to either leaders or high-ranking officials, and so, they don’t care about money. Contesting these elections is no more the job of a common man or someone belonging to a financially-stricken background. Because of these reasons, hooliganism in universities and colleges seems to be on the rise. Many a time, children find themselves unwillingly entrapped in such situations, and I think parents need to counsel their children to stay away from this. It is quite natural for a common man to worry about everyday fights in educational institutions.

There is no denying that student elections come with its benefits and can be used to effectively cater to the difficulties of the students but considering the amount of nuisance that it has started to create, maybe the government must take some stringent action to prevent these institutions from transforming into obnoxious grounds of battle. The government needs to stop this political infiltration into the lives of the students.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images
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