Money and might rule Panjab University polls

By Mannat Mundi, Chandigarh, Aug 30 : Swanky cars, leaders dressed in smart kurta-pyjamas and a touch of glamour thrown in - the scene on the Panjab University (PU) campus here is more festive than academic this year.

With elections to the PU Campus Students' Council slated for Wednesday, it is time for parties and leaders to make their presence felt through a show of might and money.

Not wanting to be left behind, student organizations and their leaders are arranging expensive cars - whether from friends and relatives or even hiring from high-end car rental services - to attract maximum attention in the run-up to the elections. The stakes - politically and literally - are high for everyone associated with the elections.

SUVs, swanky cars, flashy posters, noisy campaign rallies, zipping around the campus - all this is part of the festive election spirit.

With all the power show, the large number of SUVs and the glam factor - female supporters of the NSUI (National Students Union of India) and SOPU (Students of Panjab University) - the elections have created an exhilarating bustle.

Some party supporters have hired cars from private transporters for 10-15 days with their budget easily exceeding Rs 50,000 for each vehicle.

"We are specifically using BMWs and SUVs as the presence of these cars really helps us to attract students. It catches everyone's attention at once," Manoj Lubana of the NSUI told IANS.

"We have hired 20 SUVs from a private agency in Punjab. We have even provided five of these to our female campaigners to roam around the campus," said Hardit Dhillon of the Students Organisation of India (SOI).

If it was the SOPU and PUSU (Panjab University Students Union) battling for the chairmanship of the students' council in the past few years, it's the NSUI which is creating waves this time.

High on fashion and luxury cars, NSUI leaders are slogging hard for victory. "We have rented 10 BMWs and 10 Audis, apart from the SUVs," said an NSUI member.

Admitting the one-upmanship among organizations and leaders, Sumit, an NSUI supporter, told IANS: "It's all about the numbers game. The more cars you have, the better it works for the party's mass appeal."

Girls involved in the PU elections are as active as the boys this season.

"The swanky cars do attract attention with leaders dressed up smartly," said a female student of the Department of English.

Along with the luxury cars making a statement, anthems are trying to make their way into the hearts of the voters.

"As most youngsters are fans of rap music, we have created an anthem to the tune of a Punjabi song by taking the help of professionals. It is making the rounds of the campus," SOI president Gurdit Dhillon told IANS.

The NSUI has also released its anthem.

For the budding leaders, a ride on a BMW, an Audi, a Fortuner, an open jeep or in any other car rather seems like a good political drive to the future.

(Mannat Mundi can be contacted at mannatrules@yahoo.com)

--IANS (Posted on 30-08-2013)

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