Bijay Gajmer/Republica Police frisking students going to cast their votes for the Free Student Union election at Ratna Rajya Campus, Kathmandu on Tuesday.
KATHMANDU, March 29: After months of disputes, Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus (RR) finally conducted the Free Students Union (FSU) election on Tuesday.
As usual, the election was not free from tension as the students affiliated to the All Nepal National Free Student Union- Revolutionary (ANNFSU-R) staged protests from early morning. As much as 400 security personnel were deployed around the college premises to thwart any untoward incident.
DSP Santosh Tamang along with three journalists were injured when protesters hurled a petrol bomb near the college in an attempt to disrupt the election. They even pelted stones at security personnel and some voters though it didn't cause serious harm to anyone. Vehicular movement was obstructed in front of the college throughout the day, compelling travelers to change their routes.
Despite numerous attempts from the agitating student to foil the election, security personnel prevented them from doing so.
The campus was flocked with students who arrived to cast votes for the candidates of their favor. For a lot of them, it was a new experience as the government announced the FSU election after eight years.
“I was eagerly waiting to cast vote in the FSU election and I finally did it today. I was excited also because this is the first time I used my voting rights,” said Janak Shahi Thakuri, a BA third year student at the campus.
Even though the TU had scheduled February 25 as the date for the FSU elections, later it was postponed to March 1 due to disputes and clashes. Unfortunately, RR Campus could not conduct the election on that date following clashes among various student unions.
Though the college authority had announced a new date for the FSU election on March 6, it was again cancelled following the directives from the Election Commission not to carry out any elections keeping in view the upcoming local polls.
Tapendra Jung Shahi, a CPN-UML candidate fighting for the post of FSU president, had filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court demanding that the poll must be conducted. Responding to the writ petition, the apex court on March 15 had issued an interim order to hold the FSU election at the earliest.
Following the court order, the campus administration was forced to conduct the election on Tuesday. According to Raj Kumar Rai, a student leader affiliated to the CPN-UML, 1276 voters cast votes in the election.
“Our opponents tried their best to foil the election due to the fear of being defeated. But the election was conducted peacefully,” said Rai. He further informed the poll results will be announced on Wednesday.