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Student elections in Odisha: Lyngdoh panel norms go for a toss

Bhubaneswar: Though Lyngdoh Committee has capped the expenditure by candidates in Student union elections at Rs 5,000, student candidates backed by several political parties are seen spending lavishly in pre-poll campaigns.

In Bhubaneswar, a party-like atmosphere was observed at Ramadevi Women’s University, which is now hogging the limelight with elections cancelled at almost all the major institutions in the capital city.

Being a case in point, the university’s aspiring candidates, in a bid to attract voters are seen throwing lavish buffet lunches for students. Moreover, to be in the good books of students, the candidates are not shying away from showering gifts on their voters. In fact, one would be left spoilt for choices as various student organisations have put up stalls inside the premises to woo voters.

Meanwhile, the student wing of ruling BJD, Biju Yuva Janata Dal (BYJD), said it always ensures adherence to the committee’s recommendations.

“All the students who contest the elections on the ideals or support of Biju Janata Dal, are always directed to comply with the Lyngdoh panel guidelines,” BYJD president, Ranapratap Patra said.

On the other hand, the ABVP is of the opinion that the student wing of ruling-BJD has always protested the minimum spending cap of Rs 5,000 as suggested by the Lyngdoh committee.

“NSUI, the student outfit of the National Congress has also lodged a petition in Orissa High Court seeking revision of the committee’s recommendations. But ABVP has always complied with the norms,” said ABVP state secretary, Abhilash Panda.

On the other hand, the student wing of Congress has heaped criticism on both the BJP and BJD for violating the guidelines. “Nowadays BYJD and ABVP are spending crores of rupees in campus elections. To stay in completion we are compelled to spend,” student Congress advisor, Manoj Biswal said.

In pursuant to an order of the Supreme Court in 2005, the Ministry of Human Resources Development constituted a committee under JM Lyngdoh, former Chief Election Commissioner to examine and give recommendations on certain aspects of student body and student union elections conducted in universities, colleges and other higher education institutions.

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