By Azra Qaisar:
With elections less than a week away, Delhi University Students’ Union is witnessing intense political campaigning. All parties are going all out in their bid to gain support from the students in almost 50 colleges that would be casting their vote, this Friday (11th September). Apart from the usual candidates such as Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), National Students’ Union Of India (NSUI) and All India Students’ Association (AISA), this year AAP’s Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) is also going to enter the race. Student Organisation of India (SOI) would also be participating in the elections along with Students’ Federation Of India (SFI), Indian National Students’ Organisation (INSO) etc. The candidates from most parties are men, with one woman among the four contenders each from ABVP, NSUI and CYSS.
In order to make an informed vote, it is important for the electorate to take a look at the agendas of each student body. For the three major candidates – ABVP, NSUI and CYSS, the DUSU elections are more than exercising control in the university. They are also about the exertion of a certain ideology that a larger political party (BJP, Congress and AAP) stands for.
What The Agendas Say
The ABVP has promised many things pertaining to the law. It has promised to bring in the Paying Guest Regulation Act. It also plans to pressurise the Government of Delhi to implement the Room Rent Control Act. Apart from that they want to create a secure environment for students from North eastern states. Another important part of their agenda is hostel accommodation, while travel also remains an important part of their agenda with University special buses and concession in metro fares for students being key issues.
NSUI is also focusing on the security and safety of women and students from the North East. They too have been very vocal about their opposition to CBCS and are likely to treat it as important fighting ground. They plan on arranging for more hostels for students, and are said to be trying for feeder buses to Metro stations.
AISA, which participated in the last election, but remains a new entrant compared to the others also has a similar agenda with women’s safety and hostel accommodation a key concern. They also want to work for better infrastructure within colleges.
CYSS, the debutante in this election, takes a departure from these existing ideas. They have issued a ‘charter of demands‘. Voicing ideas similar to their parent wing, they also want Wi-Fi facilities for free in the University, terming it the ‘Right to free Wi-Fi’. They also are trying for ‘Right to Income’ which entails bringing in employment avenues through job fairs.
What The Agendas Mean For Students
A look at the main points in the agendas highlight that hostel accommodation and women’s security remains a priority for all parties. Another important concern for all the parties is the issue of safety for North Eastern students. The problems that arise with the points pertaining to this issue is that focusing on North East as a part of India that specifically needs protection further alienates them. What could be done instead is maybe ensure that there is no discrimination against students on the basis of ethnicity. This way it is a more inclusive manner of safeguarding the interests of students.
Since most colleges do offer free Wi-Fi in their campuses, CYSS’s promise remains unclear. The points pertaining to travel if implemented effectively by any of the parties could also be quite helpful to the student community. The opposition to CBCS by both NSUI and AISA are an important strategy for the elections. A very similar strategy was adopted by ABVP earlier, when it won on the premise of revoking FYUP, which they did play an important role in (whether helpful or not is a debatable matter).
ABVP would be fighting to retain their position while NSUI is trying to make a comeback. CYSS is hoping to pull off what AAP did in the state elections. AISA, which has been very powerful in JNUSU is aspiring to get a strong hold in the University of Delhi as well. Who among these would make it to the new union would only be known after this week.
This is a part of YKA’s focused coverage of the 2015 student union elections in Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. To know more about it, click here.
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