The Students Federation of India (SFI) came up trumps in the student union elections held at the Mar Ivanios College, Thiruvananthapuram, last week. Remarkably, the polls could be held peacefully this time unlike last year when outbreak of violence had forced the annulment of the election. Several students were injured and public property was damaged in a spat between Congress-backed Kerala students union (KSU) and CPM-backed SFI then.
After the peaceful polls held on Friday, SFI representatives emerged winners in most seats. Out of the total 104 seats, SFI grabbed 92. Sreehari A.K, from the Department of English was elected the students' union chairman. Amal Jayaraj, from the Department of Physics was sworn in as the general secretary. The vice-chairperson is Krishna Priya from the English Department.
“Students approached union elections in a mature manner this time. Teachers took a lot of efforts too. We were vigilant enough to avoid unsolicited incidents of violence. With strict police protection and by letting in only those who have college id cards, we executed our election plan,” Meenu Jose, staff advisor and teacher said.
“Now it’s time for high hopes. Students are very talented. We understand that it was just a moment's mistake that ruined everything last year," she added.
As the union election was called off last year students had missed out on fun and programmes organised by college union.
Hareekesh, an SFI activist and a degree student at the college, said that the election results were far better than what he expected. “Our energy can’t be expressed. Polling started by 9:30 am. SFI did not face an opposition in about 38 seats. B Com regular, Chemistry, Botany, Biotech departments were definite takes. It’s been days since we started working behind it,” he said.
Sreehari won the chair by 91 votes in the panel elections conducted immediately after the results were out.
The victorious SFI organised a rally on the campus thereafter.
Leena Abraham, an excited voter told Onmanorama, that it is good to experience the wait to hear good news, dances to victories, some genuine cries and the appreciating hugs.
“Students all dressed up in the colour of their flag, shouting slogans, delivering long speeches and painting wall graffiti... It is indeed a beautifully expressed state of democracy,” she said.
The college management had suspended 20 students and dismissed 2 in connection with the violence that broke out after the declaration of college union election results last year.
Sreehari, the newly elected college union chairman, admitted that all the students who faced corrective actions last year were SFI campaigners. “We were not in support of those who initiated violence. Our success this year, despite all the allegations we faced, is proof. Moreover, Mar Ivanios College emerged as the winners of 39th Kerala University Youth Festival this time. So the election was nothing less of a festival this year,” he added.
Commenting on his new role, Sreehari said that he worked for the students day and night on behalf of SFI. “I contested in college elections in all three years of my course. I lost in last year’s election. I did everything with heart and soul. Maybe that is the reason why people allowed me to represent them this time,” he said.
Sreehari also said that he looks forward to join hands with BJP's students' wing ABVP, CPI's counterpart AISF and the opposition KSU in organising welfare programmes and events on campus.
At the same time, KSU representatives promised that they would deliver sincere work during their term and build a strong wall of opposition for the SFI-led students union.
“We couldn’t get enough fund and active membership last year. We participated only in a few seats but grabbed majority of them. But this time, we contested in many seats but couldn't win most of them. That’s a disappointing fact. We will make a powerful comeback next time. We wish all the very best to the newly elected college union,” KSU representatives said.