Only one female candidate in Dehradun’s DAV college union elections
There isn’t a single female candidate contesting the post of president or general secretary of DAV PG college this year.
In the students’ union elections of Dehradun’s DAV PG College this year, there is not a single female candidate contesting for the post of president or general secretary. The only female candidate contesting the election is for the post of vice president.
According to college officials, women comprise almost half the strength of the college. Despite that, the post of president and general secretary is generally bagged by male candidates. Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has been winning the president’s post for past 11 years, but none of their candidates was a woman.
When asked, the prospective presidential candidate of ABVP Jitendra Singh Bisht said, “We field female candidates in other colleges across the state. Here, generally male candidate contests the post of president because either female candidates are not prepared well enough to contest the seat or maybe they don’t want to contest it.”
Moin Khan of Aryan group said that if a woman candidate becomes the president or general secretary (GS) of the college, she might not be able to exercise her duties properly. “Women prefer not to come out at night due to their safety concerns. In case a woman becomes the president or GS of the college and a fight breaks out among students at night, she will not be able to come. So it is better to have men in these posts,” Khan said.
Women who have been actively involved in students’ politics said it is a concerted effort by the groups to leave women candidates behind. “Even if a female candidate is prepared as well as her male counterpart for the top posts, the groups do not give them a ticket. This is no fluke. It is planned and executed that way. Politics at the college levels is highly sexist,” said Bhawana Chaudhary. She had contested independently for the vice president’s post in 2015 and had won the same. She is now a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker.
Dimple Shaily of National Students Union of India (NSUI) contested for the post of GS in DAV College last year but lost. “Often bizarre justifications are given for not fielding women candidates. A woman candidate can canvass and win the elections as easily as a man. The canvassing takes place till evening. Just because we don’t want to roam around till 11-12 at night is not a strong enough reason. Also, what canvassing takes place at that time,” Shaily questioned.
“Here at DAV, they prefer to give positions like university representative, joint secretary and treasurer to women because these posts are not really involved in the decision-making process. So the men run the unions and women’s issues remain unresolved,” Shaily added.
Himani Bhandari is the only female candidate standing in elections this year. She is contesting for the post of vice president from a newly-formed group Saksham. “We have formed this group to raise the concerns of female students of the college. An all-male panel completely ignores women’s issues. As a result, the safety of female students of the college always remains an issue in DAV. The girls’ washrooms in the college are in pathetic conditions but no one bothers to talk about it,” Bhandari, a second-year student of LLB said.
First Published: Aug 31, 2018 12:35:22