Kanupriya of the SFS is the new president of Panjab University Central Student Council | Twitter
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Kanupriya, a post-graduate student in zoology represents SFS, a Leftist organisation that claims it is not aligned with any political party.

New Delhi: Panjab University’s long wait for a woman president is over. Kanupriya, candidate for Students for Society (SFS), a Leftist organisation unaligned to a full-scale political party, has been elected president of the Panjab University Central Student Council (PUCSC).

This is the first time that a woman has been elected president of PUCSC.

The margin of victory was 719 votes, with the RSS-affiliated ABVP’s Ashish Rana finishing second. The Akali Dal’s student wing SOI stood third, while the Congress-affiliated NSUI finished fourth.

Kanupriya, 22, a post-graduate student of zoology, hails from Patti village in Tarn Taran district and has been at the university since 2014. She said it was not only a big day for her but for her organisation and the whole university.

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“The university strongly needed a change. There was a perception earlier that girls would not vote for a woman candidate, but this was not the case. Many girls encouraged me to go ahead with this election,” she told ThePrint.

“We had learnt a lot of lessons from last year’s election, when SFS had fielded a woman candidate for president. This is why we took the risk to field another woman candidate, even though there were a lot of other candidates under consideration.”

What’s SFS?

Students for Society was founded in 2010, and has contested four times — each time for the post of president only.

Sachinderpal Pali, one of the organisation’s founders, said: “These elections mean a lot to us. Political parties play with money and muscle, but over a period of time, students have become aware. Now they realise that money and muscle power cannot buy their votes.”

Also read: Student elections in Punjab after 34 years. But little will change if Chandigarh is a role model

SFS has, in the tradition of Leftist organisations, held demonstrations and organised street plays to raise awareness about issues. It has been a vocal critic of gender discrimination in the university’s rules, and has also hit out at the ‘gedi’ culture prevalent in Chandigarh and within the PU campus — where groups of boys roam around in cars and catcall at girls.

The party’s manifesto has promised to “remove curfew timings for girls’ hostels”, “struggle for the regularisation of self-financed courses”, and “work harder on making the campus vehicle-free”.

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