The Independent Student Newspaper of Ashoka University

Neha Sheik wins Interim SG presidency, forms the President’s Advisory Council

by Raunaq Bawa


The House of Representatives convened on 10th October to elect the President and the Leader of Opposition after six new representatives joined the body. Initially, Neha Sheik and Karan Lobana, both newly elected independents, put in their names for the presidential election. When the election was postponed by a day, Advaith Jayakumar, the then incumbent, also entered the race, following which Karan voluntarily withdrew from it. Neha won the presidential election with a margin of 6:5 with support from Karan Lobana, Shreya Jain, Jai Desai, Bhavye Jain and Nipun Jain. All the others who voted for Advaith– Rivan Sengupta, Rhea, Rochan Mohapatra and Saina Suri– unanimously elected him as the Leader of Opposition. 

On Sunday, 10th October, both Neha and Karan contested the debate prior to the presidential election. Neha reiterated the position she adopted in the Candidate’s Debate, committing herself towards continuing the past work of the SG, maintaining stability, and ensuring autonomy for the ministries. Karan drew on his past arguments on electoral reform and democratising communication between the student body and administration. He also touted as an asset his understanding of “backroom politics” of the SG. On the issue of sexual harassment allegations being raised against HoR members, the candidates displayed considerable ambiguity—while Neha offered to “mediate” in such cases, Karan would “refer them to a CASH member.”

The absence of a member from the House prompted the decision to defer voting to Monday, 11th October. The interim period saw Advaith, the then incumbent President from Prakrit, announcing his candidature for the presidential election, following which Karan voluntarily dropped out of the race. He stated that his purpose of standing for the election was simply to “give competition” and that he felt Neha would make a “competent President”. In the debate on Monday, both candidates touted their past experiences of working with the SG (while Advaith has been President of the Interim SG, Neha has worked in the President’s cabinet), and argued for maintaining stability and continuing the past work of the SG efficiently. In the election that followed, all six newly elected representatives voted for Neha while the remaining five voted for Advaith. 

On 22nd October, Neha constituted the first ever President’s Advisory Council, which includes her Chief of Staff, Pratul Chaturvedi (UG ‘22). This 5-member council consists of 4 more students from the UG ‘24 batch, who had otherwise been barred from voting and standing in the recently concluded by-elections. All members of this council will be acting in an “advisory capacity” to the President, and will also serve the purpose of introducing the freshman batch to the Student Government.

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