New Delhi, Nov 2 (UNI) Polling for the Jawaharlal Nehru University student union elections came to an end this evening with around 50 per cent of the electorate casting their votes in the charged atmosphere following the scuffle between two factions during the presidential debate on Wednesday night over what they called a battle between ''casteism and religiosity''.
Counting of votes will be undertaken from 2100 hrs tonight and the result will be out on November 4.
The polling, which began on a dull note amid tight security here at 0900 hrs this morning, picked up steam 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 progressed students started coming out in droves to cast their votes.
'' Polling picked up gradually and as was being hoped a good percentage of students exercised their franchise by the end of the day,'' a Student Election Committee member told UNI.
The first phase of the polling ended at 1300 hrs for a lunch break.
The second phase of the election began at 1430 hrs and ended at 1730 hrs.
Heavy security, including personnel drawn from Delhi Police, was 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 were set up where around 5200 electors were to exercise their franchise in two phases.
Thirty-six candidates were in the fray for four seats on the student body. Out of the total 36, the maximum 12 contested for the post of President, seven for Vice-President, nine for General Secretary and eight tested their fortune for the post of Joint Secretary.
Another 99 candidates belonging to different groups were also in the fray for the posts of councillors at all the centres of the university.
The run-up to the keenly-contested polls saw hot national issues like the Indo-US nuclear deal, OBC quota and the Nandigram 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 were outgoing President Dhananjay Tripathi(SFI) and outgoing General Secretary Sandeep Singh(AISA).