As the Delhi University votes today in one of the most watched student body polls across the country, another student election in eastern Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur town, scheduled for tomorrow, was cancelled by the Gorakhpur University administration late last night. The decision was taken after clashes between supporters of a candidate belonging to the right wing ABVP and supporters of an independent candidate.
The move has been criticised by Samajwadi party chief and former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who has alleged that the election has been cancelled to shield the BJP from another electoral loss in the city.
Gorakhpur was the Lok Sabha constituency of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. In a Lok Sabha bypoll earlier this year, his replacement candidate suffered a big loss at the hands of a candidate backed by the Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party. The defeat prompted hectic moves to formalise seat sharing between Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, once bitter political rivals, for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Student body elections have been held just once in the last 13 years in Gorakhpur. This year's elections were scheduled for Friday. On Tuesday, there was a clash between supporters of the ABVP candidate Ranjit Singh and supporters of a rebel ABVP candidate Anil Dube. Later in the evening, the university administration decided to call off the polls.
The last student body election in the Gorakhpur University was held in 2016. In the election, the ABVP managed to win just one seat, and it was not a high profile post.
On October 15 last year, the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha, the student wing of the Samajwadi Party, won the post of president in the Allahabad University Students Union election by defeating the ABVP candidate. The ABVP won just one a general secretary post. In 2016, it had won two.
In Gorakhpur, the officials said they had to cancel the elections because teachers refused to cooperate as they feared more violence.