By Mridang Lodha:
Arun Jaitley, Rahul Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Sheila Dikshit, Sachin Pilot. Politics is one common rope that ties them all, but another thing that brings them yet “closer” is their common place of study “University of Delhi”; co-incidentally also the campus that gave a kick start to their political careers.
Delhi University, is by far as per the number of students are concerned, the largest university in India and does rank in the top 100 amidst those in Asia. Apart from all the academic and extracurricular activities that most people identify with the university Politics is one major avenue that many of the interested students explore and excel in.
Politics is an integral part of the DU culture, and is very evident throughout the year. Anyone who wishes to fulfil their political ambitions gets a chance in these battle grounds. Although most candidates do have a political backing or background, by the virtue of belonging to a particular family and/or social influence, still, students from ordinary middle class families, if they wish, can do-it-all, and tussle their way up to a brighter political carrier.
I remember as a prospective student, walking the lanes of the campus and the surrounding areas, and getting glimpses of torn and discredited posters, hanging loose, half-pasted on the walls coming out with the paint, probably from the last year’s election campaign. And it didn’t really come as a surprise, for Delhi, ABVP, NSUI and DU; have often been heard in the news corridors of politics, and it indeed has always had a reverberation.
ABVP () and NSUI (National Students Union, India), the two major players, of the political games played in the by lanes of this educational field, have BJP and Congress respectively as their mentors and godfathers, and often fulfil their political aims through the Students Union elections.
There are four posts — President, Vice-President, Secretary and Joint Secretary. Two representatives from each college are also elected as Councillors.
The campaigns run by the candidates contesting for the various posts are not only very attractive, but also high on budget. Lakhs of money is flown in the endeavour to head one of the biggest and most powerful student unions of the nation. Rain dance parties, free passes to amusement parks, variety of tokens/gifts/souvenirs, movie screenings, you name it and the candidates would organize it to bank in your votes. During these mass campaigns, you can find a heard of students covering every inch of the DU campus, often disturbing classes as well, and without much hesitation.
Despite being a university wide phenomenon, a major lot of students and even some college like Stephens, stay aloof from it, and are happy to do so. Even the huge hustle-bustle during the elections does not suffice to draw their attention and lure them to participant. A lot of students do not even bother to vote during the D-day. The participation of the fresher’s in the event relates to their inquisitiveness and excitement to use an electronic ballot machine.
Also the activity is not lost; neither does it die out after a few months post the elections. The union keeps itself in the limelight enough to get the attention by various strikes it holds whole across the year. The DUSU (Delhi University Students Union) is often followed by a DUTA (Delhi University Teachers Association) strike, just to show the awareness amidst each group.
Also the politics, at times in the past have painted a dirty picture, and barely comes as a surprise if serious crime gets associated with the whole agenda to procure a seat.
All in all, it won’t be wrong to address the elections as a month long festival that marks the campus of one of the best Universities the nation boasts of. Seriously, Delhi University has it all, academics, dance, drama and a huge political platform, for no doubt.
image courtesy: http://pratyush.instablogs.com/entry/student-politics-goes-nowhere-but-in-hell/