The Ashoka University Election Commission (AUEC) announced the results of the House of Representatives (HoR) election of the Ashoka University Student Government (AUSG) on Thursday, June 1, 2023. The HoR election, held internally within the SG, was conducted on May 29.
The House of Representatives, a vital component of the AUSG, acts as the foremost representatives of the student body, both within and outside the University. After consulting relevant stakeholders, they pass legislation, make decisions, and issue statements on behalf of the student body. The HoR works with the rest of the SG to pursue reforms in administrative policies that are in the interest of the student community.
The Eighth House of Representatives is composed of the newly elected President, Sankalp Dasmohapatra (UG’24), the Vice President, Tamanna Parikh (UG’24), and representatives from the undergraduate (UG), Young India Fellowship (YIF), Masters, and PhD cohorts.
As per the Electoral Code, this year's HoR comprises 13 members, excluding the President and Vice President, with the number of seats based on proportional representation according to cohort-wise student enrollment numbers. The UG Council, making up 50% of the SG, has been allotted 7 seats, while the YIF, Masters and PhD Councils have 2 seats each.
Of the 7 HoR seats to be filled by UG councilpersons, 4 were filled by Leher, having 60% of the UG Council representation: Samarth Jain (UG’24), Aditi Warrier (UG’24), Ahana Walanju (UG’25), and Rishit Roy (UG’25). The remaining 3 seats were filled by the independent candidates who form 40% of the UG Council: Trishika Singhania (UG’25), Navya Asopa (UG’24) and Rutupurna Naik (UG’24).
The sole elected member of the Masters Council, Anshika Mittal, occupied one of the two Masters seats in the HoR. The second Masters seat, along with the YIF and PhD seats remain vacant. As per the HoR information document released by the AUEC, "Since the PhD and YIF Councils are currently empty, their seats in the HoR will remain empty until the Council by-elections take place.”.
The election to the HoR was conducted through the Single Transferable Vote system. The UG Council was divided into two lists: the Leher List and the Independents List. The election was then held among the members of each list.
As per this system, each member of a list ranks the candidates in order of their preference. Voters’ first-choices are then tallied and candidates who surpass the quota are elected to the HoR. The surplus votes of the elected candidate are then redistributed to the candidates next in order of voters’ preferences. The process is repeated until all seats are filled, or until the remaining candidates equal the remaining seats.
In case of ties, the AUEC uses the Borda count system, which assigns 3 points to a voter’s first preference, 2 to the second and 1 to the third, such that those with the lowest Borda scores are eliminated. If all efforts fail, a re-election may be called.
Candidates from the Leher List needed to surpass a quota of 2.25 votes to secure a seat. Samarth Jain, the first candidate to exceed the quota, was elected to the HoR. His surplus votes were transferred to Aditi Warrier and Rishit Roy. Following this, Aditi Warrier passed the quota to be the second elected HoR member from Leher. Her surplus votes were transferred to Ahana Walanju, who then reached the quota and was elected to the HoR. While Rishit Roy fell short of the quota, the number of candidates equaled the number of seats left, ultimately electing him as the final HoR member from Leher.
In the Independent List, the first round of voting was declared null after which a re-election took place. In the first round, Rutupurna Naik was eliminated due to a lack of first preference votes, after which a Borda count was conducted. Upon elimination of the candidates with the lowest Borda score, it was found there would be only two candidates remaining for the 3 UG Independent seats in the HoR. Thus, the initial round of voting results was nullified.
However in the re-election, through Borda counting, Trishika Singhania and Navya Asopa achieved the required quota of 2 votes each, getting elected to the HoR. Rutupurna Naik secured the final spot among the Independent representatives, having a Borda score higher than Domil Anthony Johnson, breaking the tie between them.
The Speaker of the HoR will be elected in the first meeting of the House. The SG will then invite applications for the posts of Ministers. The President, the Vice-President and the Speaker will appoint a Public Relations Officer, following which the Student Government will officially assume office from July 1, 2023.