Hyderabad: Social media is the new medium used in student union elections. There are heated debates and accusations are flung around, but it is also a space where candidates can show the work they have done throughout the year. Recently, Shashi Tharoor tweeted his best wishes to the presidential candidate of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) of UoH which was widely shared.
For the first time, universities across Telangana conducted presidential debates this year to ease the tension online and also clear the controversies that arose. Attaullah Niazi, president of MANUU says, “The presidential debate went well this time with students questioning the shortcomings of last year’s union and also asking questions about any controversies regarding the candidates. It is essential to have the debate because it clears a lot of misconceptions.”
This year, University of Hyderabad also conducted a debate for candidates in the GS-Cash panel. Firdaus Soni, a student, says, “Gs-Cash is not an extension of the union and the discourse of gender cannot take a backseat. The debate has to be conducted so that the issues of gender justice on campus can be debated.”
Students claim that the debate gives them freedom to question the work that will be done rather than the manifestos that come year after year with no change.
The issue of political opinions often leads to arguments on social media with students tagged in statuses. Shyam Sunder, a student, says that the worst kind of propaganda during elections is “digging up of old posts and then sharing screenshots of the same. Some statuses and messages are even taken out of context. It is not fair to take personal messages and put it on a public platform to win a vote.”
Students say that the use of religious symbols in posts is wrong. Mythreya Sharma of the ABVP says, “Code of conduct in elections clearly states that religious symbols shouldn’t be used in campaigning. Social media campaigns often spread hate politics....