New Delhi, Nov 2 (UNI) Polling for the Jawaharlal Nehru University student union elections, which began on a dull note amid tight security here this morning, gained momentum later in the day.
When the polling got under way, only a few students could be seen at the polling booths, but as the day wore on students started coming out in hordes to cast their votes.
'' Polling has picked up and it is being hoped that a good percentage of students will be exercising their franchise by the end of the day,'' a Student Election Committee member told UNI.
The first phase of the polling, which started at 0900 hrs, ended at 1300 hrs for a lunch break.
The second phase of the election will begin at 1430 hrs and end at 1730 hrs.
Heavy security, including personnel drawn from Delhi Police, has been deployed on the campus in view of Wednesday night's clash among rival groups when the presidential debate turned ugly following some unsavoury and disparaging remarks against Lord Rama by a student candidate. The clash led to a riot-like situation on the campus in which some students wielding lathis and rods clashed with each other.
Altogether 12 polling stations have been set up where around 5200 electors will exercise their franchise in two phases.
Thirty-six candidates are in the fray for four seats on the student body. Out of the total 36, the maximum 12 are contesting for the post of President, seven for Vice-President, nine for General Secretary and eight are testing their fortune for the post of Joint Secretary.
Another 99 candidates belonging to different groups are also in the fray for the posts of councillors at all the centres of the university.
Counting of votes will be undertaken from 2100 hrs tonight and the result will come out on November 4.
The run-up to the keenly-contested polls saw hot national issues like the Indo-US nuclear deal, OBC quota and the Nandigram issues being raked up by various student groups.
The groups in the fray -- Left-backed SFI and AISA, Congress-backed NSUI, BJP-backed ABVP which is banking on the anti-incumbency factor and independent YFE among others -- also raised the key issues of class as well as religion during the canvassing for the polls.
Among the prominent candidates for the post of president are outgoing President Dhananjay Tripathi(SFI) and outgoing General Secretary Sandeep Singh(AISA).