Delhi University goes to polls on September 9 for its Student Union elections. Becoming a mediator between students and the administration in one of the largest universities in the country is certainly not a matter to trifle with – successful elimination of the problems faced by students on a daily basis become crucial indicators of a party’s political capabilities.
With less than a week to go for polls, the parties have started releasing their manifestos. Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the party which has been in power at the University for two years in a row, has been trying to make certain amendments to the system as is understood from their manifesto. Several aspects have remained consistent over a span of two years. Special measures for women’s safety, printed mark sheets, and need for better infrastructure, are some such issues. Attention has also been brought to inadequate sports facilities for student-athletes – manifestos of both years demand fair admission through sports quota, as well as better facilities. And while there is no appeal to revoke CBCS (Choice Based Credit System), unlike what was witnessed in 2014 with the FYUP system, this year’s manifesto includes a call for extra-curricular activities to be given extra credits under the new academic system, to promote sports. If implemented, this would prove to be a highly motivating factor in the sports category.
Going by the alarming statistics of instances of violence against and harassment of women, ABVP’s request for stronger actions regarding women’s safety comes across as a beacon of hope. Like last year, the party mentioned regular patrolling by PCR vans around women’s hostels, the need for hostels for women in every college, and better security measures. However, there is no appeal for revoking unnecessary, and extremely sexist curtailments on women in PG and hostels regarding entry timing in the evening, compulsory dress code and moral policing under the garb of concern. This is an important issue this election season and has been the focus of the Pinjra Tod movement for over a year.
On a different note, several demands previously raised by the party, seem to have been taken up by the concerned authorities – giving students an online payment system for college fees and AICTE approval for B. Tech applicants, among few others.
Interestingly, a visible change from previous year’s manifesto is an appeal for fair treatment of all groups, regardless of religion, caste or any other barrier. While last year’s manifesto requested remedial classes for SC/ST/OBC/economically weaker students, this year’s manifesto carries a “no discrimination” plea for the same.
Regardless of all the aforementioned manifesto ‘promises’, the Delhi University Student Union contenders are still engaging in distasteful practices. Littering, wreaking havoc on roads with campaign-related posters pasted on SUVs and jeeps, and even disruption of lecture sessions by shouting out slogans, banging on classroom doors and windows, while ironically, appealing to students for their support, are some of them.