DUSU elections today, stage set for tight 3-way fight
The RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad, Congress’ students’ wing National Students Union of India and the new alliance of Left-backed All India Students’ Association and Aam Aadmi Party’s students’ wing Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti are fighting it out.
The fate of 23 candidates will be decided on Wednesday when Delhi University (DU) students cast their votes for this year’s students’ union elections. The DU Students’ Union (DUSU) polls are critical for all political student groups as it sets the stage for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
DUSU elections are contested for four posts — president, vice president, secretary and joint secretary. This year, the Congress’ student wing National Students Union of India (NSUI) is hoping to improve its last year’s tally of two — it got its candidates elected to posts of president and vice-president.
Meanwhile, RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which won the lower slots of secretary and joint secretary last elections, is pushing hard to regain lost ground.
At least 2.5 lakh students are registered to vote this year. However, the polls saw a 43% voter turnout last year.
Members of both the groups confirmed that through the DUSU polls they have been trying to set the electoral mood among the youth before 2019 elections. While the NSUI said it is considering the DUSU polls as “election of prestige”, the ABVP also using the polls to promote the ongoing schemes of the BJP such as the “Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat” programme at the campus.
The DU has also witnessed a new alliance of the Left-backed All India Students Association (AISA) and the Aam Aadmi Party’s students wing Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS). This alliance has promised to ensure installation of CCTV cameras, setting up of police booths on campus, ending the “culture of hooliganism” and opposing commercialisation of education.
Launched in 2014, CYSS had contested the DUSU elections in 2015, but could not win even a single post. Since then it had opted out of DU politics the last two elections. In their manifestos, both ABVP and NSUI appear to have raised more national issues rather the campus centric issues.
For instance, NSUI has campaigned around its demand for an “Institute of Eminence” status for the DU. NSUI had, however, opposed the move when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre granted it to other six educational institutions.
Similarly, ABVP has also promised a “Bharat first” agenda in its manifesto. The student group also promised to “convince” the DU’s teaching community to introduce special lectures and programmes to promote “nationalism” among students.
The DU has installed around 700 electronic voting machines (EVMs) across 52 colleges and departments affiliated with the DUSU. While, the polling at morning colleges will be held between 8am and 1pm, evening colleges will vote from 3pm to 7:30pm. The results will be announced on Thursday.
Officials at the university, however, said that the timing might be extended if the voter turnout is low.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police on Tuesday registered a case against unidentified persons in connection with a “vandalism” incident at Zakir Hussain (evening) College, a day ago.
DCP (central) Mandeep Singh Randhawa said they received a complaint from NSUI alleging that a group of students forcefully entered the college premises and created ruckus on Monday. “We have registered a case under section 427 (mischief causing damage) of IPC against unknown persons and investigations are under progress,” he said.
First Published: Sep 12, 2018 06:13:07