Dispute over age bar casts uncertainty over FSU polls

Kathmandu, January 29

The Free Student Union elections announced by the Tribhuvan University yesterday face uncertainty yet again due to dispute among student unions over age bar for candidates.

The TU senate meeting held a few weeks ago had passed a proposal to bar candidates above 28 years from contesting the elections.

Urmila Thapaliya, vice-chair of Nepal Student Union, a sister wing of Nepali Congress, said NSU would not allow elections to be held if the TU didn’t remove the age bar provision.

“Age bar is against the spirit of the students’ movement,” she said. She argued the age bar was illogical as TU had been unable to hold FSU elections regularly. “The age bar provision will deprive many capable student leaders from contesting the elections,” she said, adding that NSU would launch protests and padlock the TU vice chancellor’s office if the age bar provision wasn’t removed.

Two other major student organisations All Nepal National Free Students Union and ANNFSU (Revolutionary) are in favour of the bar.

Vice-chair of ANNFSU, RC Lamichhane, said it was not good to push FSU elections into uncertainty in the name of protesting against the age bar. “We can hold dialogue to resolve the problem, but we cannot further postpone the FSU elections,” said Chair of ANNFSU (Revolutionary) Narendra Neupane. Age bar is a must to bring fresh students in FSU, he argued.

Tribhuvan University recently announced that FSU elections would be held on February 25. As per the schedule, TU will publish the final voter list on February 12.

The university will distribute nomination forms to candidates on February 15 and candidates are supposed to file their nominations for both first past-the-post and proportional electoral systems from 11:00am to 3:00pm on February 16.

Candidates can withdraw their nomination before 3:00pm on February 19 and TU will publish the final list of candidates at 4:00pm the same day.

According to a notice issued by the university, enrollment of students in bachelor and master’s programme has been halted till the elections.