The JNUSU polls, a keenly fought contest, have been hogging more limelight this year against the backdrop of the February 9 event during which "anti-national" slogans were allegedly raised. The incident had led to the arrest of outgoing JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and two others.
The polling began at 9 AM and the first phase concluded by 1 PM. The counting of votes will begin tonight. The results are likely to be declared on September 11 though a specific date has not been announced yet. It will be followed by an oath taking ceremony.
In the first phase, more campaigners against voters were spotted outside the polling booths. "It is very unpredictable this year. It is a three -cornered contest. Students have become very cautious after the recent saffronisation attempts on the campus," Maanvi Ahuja, a student of School of Social Sciences said. JNUSU, which remained a left-dominated arena for years, saw RSS' student wing ABVP securing a seat last year, making a comeback in the university after a hiatus of 14 years.
Birsa Ambdekar Phule Students Association's Presidential candidate Rahul Sonpimple has been the show stealer at the Presidential debate this year. "BAPSA has a small presence on the campus, but voters in JNU are fed up of AISA's arrogance. They had a monopoly. This might go against the left alliance," said a student, who did not wish to be identified. Others, whose candidates are in the fray, include Congress'
National Students Union of India (NSUI) and Students Front for Swaraj (SFS), the student wing of AAP's breakaway group Swaraj Abhiyan. All India Students' Federation (AISF), of which Kanhaiya is a member, is not contesting this year while All India Students Association (AISA) and Students Federation of India (SFI) have formed an alliance named "Left Unity".
JNUSU is the representative body of the students in the varsity. While the polling has coincided with that of DUSU for the fourth consecutive year, the poll pattern at JNU differs from that of Delhi University.