Let ‘US’ lather it up!- Election Special Issue

The Soap-box (SB), the ceremonious platform where IIScians get to meet the election contestants and not only get to listen to their list of “I wanna dos…” but also say, “I wanna ask…”
Date:16th April, 2008
Venue: Choksi Hall
Time: 5.30 pm
The first people to come: The caterers.

People began trickling in by 5.30 and went to the snacks counter first. The kachori and the soan-papdi were delectable, run down by a cup of steaming tea. Thanks Hari!

The prime thought that emerged was the concept of team work and volunteerism. Not only did the contestants make this the cornerstone of their manifesto but duly explained how they would like to have a greater functioning team, with non elected members on it.

Contrary to popular expectations and hope that there would be greater participation, the centenary year elections witnessed unopposed election of the chairman and the general secretary. Our new Chairman is Tharakeshwar Appala ( Ajay Goyal, the other candidate withdrew his nomination) and our General secretary Arif ali Baig. Only the lady representative is to be elected through ballot. The two contestants are Rohini Bansal and Swayam Prabha.

Manifesto of Tharakeshwar led panel, which included Arif Ali Baig and Swayam Prabha, focuses primarily on increasing the SC team from three to five, waiver of fees and personality development programmes, to ensure greater participation from students at the leadership level. ( the complete manifesto)

Rohini, an independent candidate, came up with a 24 point manifesto that highlighted the issues of increasing security patrolling at night, maintenance of girl's hostels, washing machines/dryers in girl's hostel and beginning a specific women cell for wives. (the complete manifesto)

The interactive session saw the contestants being quizzed on various issues. Tharakeshwar led panel answered to the audience that they had no political ideology and only a common ideology – student participation. They also highlighted that the Post doesn't matter, student participation matters. An issue they highlighted in their answer to the Voices Questionnaire. (http://erg_akshaya.ces.iisc.ernet.in/eVoices/Election2008/Articles/candidates-speak/tharak-baig-swayam)

The importance of the Women’s cell on campus was discussed and how the dormant cell has to be made more active. Swayam Prabha and Rohini Bansal presented their perspectives on the issue, highlighting representation at hostel level, participation from students actively and the thought that help is available.

In view of the existence of diverse groups on campus and the fact that each contestant would have his own support base, Tharakeshwar and team brought to fore the fact that SC should be a five member committee. This would comprise of Chairman, Co- Chairman, General Secretary, Co- General Secretary and Women representative. This would ensure that the 1st runner ups in voting are the co-… post bearers. This would entail no group being neglected and all voices finding a listening ear.

A suggestion given to the new to be council was to have a library day where in IIScians work together to reorganise and rearrange the library books, ensuring some order and decorum.

The SC members were also urged to give importance to that majority of the student community who never come forward to raise their voice as in all probability; they are the ones who require greater help.

The Voices team requested the SC to make public the byelaws that govern their functioning for clarity and transparency. Also, to have a e-group from the beginning of their tenure to ensure smooth functioning and greater participation from the student community7.

On a final note, when quizzed on their individual strengths, these were the responses.
Chairman- Tharakeshwar Appala- “ I am a strong team leader.”
General Secretary- Arif Ali Baig- “ I have the ability to convince them.”
Women Affairs Secretary Post Contestants-
Swayam Prabha- “ I am determined to do something. I will do it.
Rohini Bansal- “ I can work in a team”


The outgoing SC Chairman, Hari Krishna Reddy chaired the meeting. He also spoke of his term as SC chairman.
He said how it was a learning experience for him and how the people support kept him going. He also urged to students to move beyond the apathy and write complaints if they have an issue bothering them and also pursue it. He said it is essential for students to raise legitimate demands and understand the logistic aspects of every facility they ask.
He said that Voices is their big success as it has been doing well and the SC has shared a good relationship with the team. He quoted the lost efforts on Vibrations unfortunately as a failure. Closing on his talk, he said that people always raise the issue of regionalism during the elections. Though it does affect the elections, we should appreciate the positive side of these regional groups and the cultural programmes they conduct year round which is done well.

What was also evident was the conspicuous absence of Sudarshan Iyengar, Outgoing General Secretary and Garima Gupta, outgoing Women Affairs Secretary .We do wish Sudarshan was there as Hari and he as a team have definitely done a commendable job with regard to some issues in their term. Congratulations to them!
Good luck to the new team that is going to take office!

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