Students' welfare has toppled other issues to stand as the most significant poll plank ahead of Magadh University Students' Union (Musu) elections slated for February 14.
Apart from students' interest issues, corruption (both academic and financial), shortage of teachers, diversion of funds meant for students and infrastructure development are some concerns that the contestants are trying to address during the poll campaign that started on Wednesday.
Candidates are campaigning in all 44 constituent colleges and at the Magadh University, Bodhgaya headquarters.
Ramnandan Kumar of the postgraduate humanities faculty at Magadh University is contesting for the post of university representative. He is campaigning on how to improve the academic atmosphere on the campus.
"The laboratories of different departments have not been upgraded like those in Delhi University and other reputed institutions of the country. Hostels on the MU campus are not in good condition. There is no mess for students' hostels. A ring bus service should be started for students because the university is around 15km from Gaya," said Ramnandan.
Kulwant Yadav, a postgraduate student of political science contesting for the university representative post, said the fee collected from students is not being used for their welfare. "Instead, the amount collected as fee is diverted to other areas. After winning the election, I will pressurise the university administration to utilise the fee for students' welfare," said Yadav.
Most of the colleges functioning under MU are in rural areas, he said, adding: "There should be courses based on agriculture so that after completing the course, students coming from the rural background could utilise their knowledge in reality."
Setting up placement cells on the university and college campuses was another issue that candidates were trying to focus on. "There should be tutorial classes for competitive examinations. It would ensure better attendance as a large number of students bunk classes to prepare for these," Yadav said.
Amit Mishra, another candidate from College of Commerce, Patna, who is vying for a university representative post, said many students of conventional courses come from poor background.
"In some colleges, interviews are organised for students of professional and vocational courses. There should be a motivator in each college to guide students and help them get a job. Though there are around 9,000 students, there is no hostel facility in Commerce College. There should be a separate campus for undergraduate students and for those pursuing professional courses," said Mishra, who is also campaigning for setting up a special cell for girls on the campus. Police patrolling around the institutions during classes is another issue he wants to address.