Indore: Much awaited Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya Teachers Association (DEVTA) elections would be held on November 24. A general body meeting of DEVTA members was held on Monday wherein poll schedule was finalised. As per the schedule, nominations would be filed between November 16 and 18 and last date for withdrawal of nominations would be November 20.
“If required, voting will be held on November 24,” said incumbent secretary of DEVTA, Laxman Shinde. The period of the existing management body had expired in April but it could not convene general body meeting for deciding the elections dates for reasons best known to the powers that be.
“Because of some reason the general body meeting could not be convened. But on Monday we called the meeting and finalised the dates for polls,” said president of DEVTA, Nagendra Sohani. He said that chief librarian GHS Naidu has been made election officer for the polls.
Gone are the days when DEVTA used to be a strong outfit of UTD teachers, an outfit that would not only safeguard interests of teachers but also ensure that no major policy decisions in the university were taken without taking it in confidence. But over the years, this association weakened due to disinterest of teachers.
About 20 years ago, DEVTA used to be a strong body which would move machinery at its whims and fancies. At that time, teachers used to actively participate in the association’s activities. DEVTA had played a crucial role in implementation of sixth pay scale in the state varsities.
In those years, there used to be tough contest among teachers for various positions in DEVTA and elected body used to be true voice of teachers. But nearly a decade back, the DEVTA started loosing its sheen; and so much so that nobody contested against president Sohani and secretary Laxman Shinde in last three elections. They were elected unopposed. It is not that the duo were very popular but as nobody wanted to go to polls.
“I did not want to contest election in 2015. I approached many professors requesting them to file nomination for president post. Till last hour of nominations, nobody came forward so I was made to file nomination again. And I again became president,” Sohani recalled. Sohani, who is president of DEVTA for past five years – the longest period for any person to hold presidency — said that he was not willing to contest president poll any more.
“I want others to come forward and take up presidency,” he said.