Published: 14th May 2021
These members of the JNU Students' Union are no longer students of the university! Here's how
The last JNU Students' Union elections were held in 2019. A few months later, the country went under a lockdown
In 2019, Anagha Pradeep was a second-year MA Political Science student of the Jawaharlal Nehru University. The same year, she was elected as a councillor representing the university's School of Social Sciences. In September 2020, she graduated from the university, to join the University of Hyderabad to pursue her MPhil. But even though her term as a student of JNU is over, quite bizarrely, her position as a councillor is still valid.
The JNUSU members who were elected in 2019 may probably hold the record as the students to serve in the union for the longest time. The COVID pandemic pushed the country into a series of lockdowns seven months after the election, in March 2020, after which the university never reopened fully. The students are still unsure of when the next elections will be held. Owing to this, Anagha and a few others continue their duty as councillors, despite their student-term ending.
"I make sure that I engage with the students and have a dialogue with the administration constantly and do y bit to resolve issues," she says. "We had committed to the duties and we have to stand by the students. Otherwise, it will push the administration to go ahead with more anti-student policies," she says.
But what do the rules say? "The tenure of office-bearers of the student council and student councillors will be one year," says the JNUSU Constitution. However, it also says "In the event of the impossibility of holding of elections within the above specified period because of reasons beyond the control of the Students' Union/Election Committee, the existing students' council and the office bearers will continue in their positions, until the elections can be held in accordance with the procedure specified."
Anagha attends online classes and hasn't been to UoH yet. "I live in Delhi and attend my classes online. This allows me to interact with the university and students," she says. Manisha Singh, another JNUSU councillor, whose term has ended, also says the same. "It is difficult for sure. But we cannot let go of our responsibilities as student councillors until the next elections are held," she says. "There are some things that cannot be done online and that includes elections too. So we have to wait for the freshmen to come to the university first. We hope that things get better in the next three to four months," she says.