Bhubaneswar, Jan 7 :
Hundreds of young and first-time voters will be deprived of their right to vote in Wednesday’s BMC polls because of a decision of the Biju Patnaik University of Technology ( BPUT) authorities that did not take into consideration the fact that a large section of its students who belong to the state capital study in its affiliated and constituent colleges located beyond the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation limits.
On January 6, the BPUT vice-chancellor, in his order number 4416 had said, “ The Affiliated & Constituent colleges situated within the Municipal corporation, Bhubaneswar shall remain closed on 08-01-2014 on account of General Election to Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.”
However, hundreds of BPUT student voters will not be able to exercise their voting right for the simple reason that a large majority of the university’s constituent and affiliated colleges will remain open on Wednesday.
Why ? Because they are not situated within the area under the Municipal Corporation !
The information that these colleges will remain open on Wednesday and classes will be held as usual, reached the students only late on Tuesday.
Many first-time student voters of the BPUT who were eagerly awaiting the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, appeared dejected and angry over what they called the ’unfair’ and ‘undemocratic’ decision of the BPUT authorities.
A woman student of an engineering college located beyond the BMC limit, told OST over phone that the State Election Commission as well as the state government should take note of this ‘unfair and discriminatory practice’ and order closure of all BPUT colleges in and around Bhubaneswar to enable the student voters to take part in the BMC polls.
” As a first-time voter, I was looking forward to casting my vote tomorrow. But I am shocked to know now that I can’t. Didn’t the BPUT authorities know thousands of students from Bhubaneswar study in technical colleges situated away from the BMC limit. The state government is equally responsible. The State Election Commissioner must step in quickly and nullify the BPUT notification declaring the colleges open on Wednesday,” the girl student said.