Express News Service, Vadodara, February 21:
The saffron tide at M S University (MSU) campus was partially stemmed with the Tuesday syndicate poll throwing up a fractured verdict in favour of the government-backed panel, slipping in two loud opponents in professors I I Pandya and Jung Bahadur Rajput. A stunned BJP group sought to take the results in its stride, but jubilation was subdued after the results were announced.
Putting up a brave face, BJP’s co-ordinator for the elections, and second time-elected Mukund Shah, said the result was not a cause of concern. ‘‘We are 12 against their two. It’s still an overwhelming majority. Opposition is part of any democratic exercise and it would be appreciated if it is constructive,’’ Shah said. He too, however, lost his strength. From being the highest vote-getter in the last syndicate, Shah slipped to number four in the Tuesday results.
Polling began at 1 pm and took two hours for all eligible and present senate members, the collegium that votes, to complete the process. In all, 82 votes were polled, three of government officials by proxy, and three more (A K Patel, Chancellor Mrunalinidevi Puar and P J Patel) abstained. Five votes in the teachers’ category were declared invalid.
From the outgoing body, four sitting members (Shashikanta Tuteja, Neela Dongre, Satish Patel, V S Patel) lost, four (Bhuvan Parekh, Mukund Shah, Dr Prakash Shah and Harish Vyas) retained their seats, and two (I I Pandya and Jung Bahadur Rajput) made re-entries after a gap of three years. The new syndicate has six first-timers (Ram Devidayal, Amit Dholakia, Ramesh Bhatt, Mukesh Pandya, Adish Jain and S S Bhattacharya) who are seen as relative novices in campus politics.
Notable among them is former Federation of Gujarat Industries (FGI) President Ram Devidayal, who was elected with a massive mandate of 62 votes. An elated Devidayal said his role would be to bring about a paradigm shift in the relationship of the varsity with industries in Vadodara. ‘‘Past history is a proof of how industry has helped MSU. Of late, some distance has developed and now my mandate from FGI is to bring us closer. I believe it would be a refreshing change from the humdrum of campus politics,’’ he said.
Amid flak from various quarters for keeping the media out of polling premises, and after a minor altercation with a group of local electronic mediamen and a section of senate members during polling, the administration relented and allowed all presspersons inside for five minutes.