Mangalore: College elections - The making of future leaders

Vineeth Monis
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore

Mangalore, Jul 7: With colleges re-opening for the academic year 2013-14 in the city, it is time for student unions to take shape and chalk out strategies.

Several political leaders who hold various positions in different parties in the city at present, had their early lessons in college elections.

There were various ugly incidents in some of the colleges here, which made some of the managements to ban elections. Instead, they select student representatives on the basis of marks obtained in the previous examination.

Nevertheless, a majority of the colleges in the city conduct elections with much fervour. During elections, the college weres a colourful, festive look, owing to posters and placards put up by the nominees. The candidates during canvassing leave no stone unturned in proving that they are better than their counterparts and capable of leading the students.

The voters are no less, as they evaluate the nominees carefully and select only those who are capable of leading them. But there are many who can be bought over by bribes, just as in general elections. Colleges also have election codes like ban on parties, even if they are at night, and there have been instances where complaints have reached the college election commissioner on a rival candidate hosting parties. If charges are proved, the candidate may even face disqualification.

Elections are not free from gender politics either. Usually in co-ed colleges, girls do not get a chance nor dare to contest for the president's post. Joint secretary is the only post reserved for them. But this year in one of the colleges in the city, a girl bravely contested for the post of president but unfortunately, perhaps due to gender politics or other reasons, she did not win.

Karthik Nayak, an MBA student at SDM College says, "Elections should be held to elect representatives as students will learn the importance of electing suitable candidates. In the present scenario, we find that educated class refrains from voting and then blames the elected representatives for not doing their job. In this case college elections will help them to realize their duty."

Sandesh Lobo, contesting for the post of president from University College, Hampankatta says, "Although victory depends on your network with students and rapport with them, money power is inevitable as you need to spend a lot before and after election.

"I am plan to become an IAS officer and this election will definitely be beneficial to me. Election teaches us how to take victory with humility and accept defeat with sportsman spirit. Every college should hold elections," he asserted.

Prof Ratan Mohunta, HoD of English, St Aloysius College who was also the election commissioner of the college says, "Ten to twelve years ago, the college presidents and other elected leaders were interested in taking up political issues, but right now, generally they are discouraged by the institution. Even personal interest is lacking in them."

Student elections are still followed by many colleges mainly to make students get an idea about the democratic way of functioning. Promoting democratic ideas enables them to express themselves and fight for their rights, he added.

While most of the colleges hold elections, there are still a few colleges that do not feel the need for a student president. Prof Kurian, principal of Alva’s College says, "We do not have an election for a student president; instead we choose two representatives each from every department. This practice has been followed since the inception of the college’.