ALLAHABAD — In a first since Independence, a woman has been elected President of the Allahabad University students' union, while Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) registered a strong presence, bagging most of the other important posts.
Hailing from Aligarh, Richa Singh, a research scholar, founded a "Friends' Club" a few years back as an alternative platform, independent of students' wings of established political parties.
After the declaration of election results late last night, Richa, who did MA Economics, became not only the second woman, but the first since Independence, to be elected as the AU students' union president after Kumari S K Nehru who held the post in 1927.
However, her victory, by a narrow margin of 71 votes, may have been facilitated by the support extended by Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha which took the decision to back her after its own candidate Ajeet Yadav's nomination papers were rejected on technical grounds.
Meanwhile, the ABVP registered its strong presence with its candidate Vikrant Singh, Siddharth Singh "Golu" and Shravan Kumar Jaiswal being elected as Vice President, General Secretary and Joint Secretary respectively.
It was the best-ever performance put up by the right-wing students' wing while the pro-left All India Students Association (AISA) and Students' Federation of India (SFI) and the National Students Union Of India (NSUI) , all of which have been traditionally strong here, failed to make an impact this time.
Counting of votes began late in the evening yesterday after polling took place amid tight security in view of a volatile situation that had emerged in the aftermath of nominations for more than a dozen candidates, belonging to different outfits, being cancelled during scrutiny of papers.
The students' union election was marked by an unusually low turn-out.
Out of 20,555 students, only 7,352 (about 36 per cent) came forward to cast their votes while only 1,286 out of 6,509 (19.76 per cent) women exercised their franchise.