Bengal allows student body polls in 4 varsities

After putting student union polls on hold for over two years in four state universities, the West Bengal government has allowed the varsities to conduct elections whenever they deem appropriate.

A letter in this regard was sent by the assistant secretary of state for Higher Education Department to the vice-chancellors of Jadavpur University, Presidency University, Rabindra Bharati University and Diamond Harbour Women's University on Thursday.

"With reference to the communication received from your end and consultations with different stakeholders, I am directed to inform you that you may hold the elections to the Students' Union/Students' Council as deemed fit," the letter read.

"We have issued a notification to hold students' union elections in the unitary universities (varsities that act as a single unit without any affiliated college under it). The schedule of the polling will be decided by the university administration concerned," Education Minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters.

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar termed the move as positive and said the state government should ensure students union elections in all the universities and colleges.

Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP), the students' wing of the ruling TMC, welcomed the move.

"This is a welcome development that the state government has removed road blocks in holding students' union elections in four universities," TMCP president Trinankur Bhattacharya said.

He hoped that after elections in the four unitary universities, the state government will gradually hold student body polls in other colleges and universities as well.

The students of Jadavpur and Presidency universities had staged demonstrations in 2017 and 2018 demanding that the students' union polls be held.