Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Who is the winner?

“One year to rule us all;
Two parties to divide us all;
And one election to fight it all.”
The present political climate of our college can be aptly described by the above three lines. Even as I write this article, I am not sure whether there will be a college election at all this year as the University and College authorities are trying to make head and tail out of the recent High Court order. Still, to explain to the readers the new bipolar political situation, I would like to set this article against the backdrop of an election; a fight for power.

Before I start analyzing, let me provide some background information for the benefit of Alumni members to bring themselves up-to-date with the recent changes. Two years ago, i.e. before I joined the college, there were mainly three student political parties. The weaklings (read KSU & ABVP) though, got wiser and decided to stand united. Thus was born VOC (Voice Of CET). Though KSU and ABVP are its political parents, VOC in its disclaimer claims itself to be a politically neutral students’ body. So, now the college has a two party political structure with politically active students either leaning to the SFI or VOC.

Readers might have, by now, understood the meaning of the three lines at the top. There is, but, one phrase that I would like to emphasise – ‘divide us all’. One doesn’t have to be a voter to understand the significance of a majority in an election. A 50+ percentage is a frugal necessity for any political party aspiring to come to power. It’s also common knowledge that MH (and to some extent LH) equals SFI. It is this political equation that has helped SFI remain in power for so long. The one-party culture in MH has been good for them as it gave them cohesion and strength. But was it good for the college?

MH is a ‘fixed’ vote bank for SFI. A few hundred more votes and the victory of their candidate is certain. This was enough when the opposition was splintered. But with the opposition deciding to fight on a common plank things changed. VOC can never dream of making inroads into the impervious Red Fort of SFI – MH. But then the votes from MH doesn’t really matter if the rest of the college unitedly votes for them; after all MH accounts for only 600 out of the total 2500 eligible voters. The problem was, there was no single force or person to unite the splintered votes (mainly that of Day Scholars).

This is where the shrewd political strategists in VOC drew inspiration from Lord Curzon and his policy of ‘Divide and Rule’. To consolidate the ‘other’ (everything except MH) votes, VOC decided to champion the cause of Dayschis. If SFI is for MH then VOC is for Dayschis became the unproclaimed political slogan. How far they have been successful can be said only after the next elections.

The writing on the wall is clear with SFI (read Union) and VOC (read Opposition) deciding to conduct separate youth festivals, mock placement tests and strikes. You may call it double dhamaka offer. But I would have preferred one of each, organized by the ‘students of CET’. All this, vindicates my views on student politics and the need for reforms in Kerala’s College campuses. Before my analysis becomes an overdose of criticism, let me stop.

The White Smoke: - As school students we have learnt History. Wise men believe, learning History is to learn our past mistakes. The seeds of divisive, hatred politics have only been sown. Let us stand united and fight it; a fight for our CET.

This article was written when I was in my Fifth Semester and before the College elections for that year had been held. The original article was first published in www.cetafi.net

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