The Delhi University Students Union elections are right around the corner and like every year, the student community has an important responsibility in deciding who will lead them. With issues like Room Rent Control Act and lack of hostel facilities being unresolved over the years, it is imperative that the students vote responsibly.
Whether you are a first year, second year or a final year student at DU, Campus Watch has got you covered in helping you make the right choice. Here’s what the contesting parties in DU have been up to in the past year:
Since the past two years, ABVP has managed to maintain its claim over the throne of DUSU. This time the party’s list of candidates include Amit Tanwar for the presidential post, Priyanka Chhawri, for the post of Vice –president, Ankit Singh Sangwan for the post of the Secretary and Vishal Yadav for the post of the Joint Secretary. In a recent interview with Newslaundry, the current President of DUSU, Satender Awana denied of any strategy being adopted by ABVP to intentionally have those candidates whose name begin with the letter ‘A’. Interestingly, the names of two of their candidates this time follows this pattern, which ensures that their names will appear on the top of the ballot.
In the past three years, ABVP has been an active participant of various student protests, including the one that eventually made DU roll back its FYUP policy. They actively pushed for the Juvenile Justice act being passed in the Parliament, and also contributed effectively towards the implementation of the Room Rent Control Act. ABVP even submitted a memorandum to the HRD Ministry with respect to their decision of reducing the number of seats in the Faculty of Law.
Speaking to Campus Watch regarding the implementations brought about by the party, Saket Bahuguna, the National Media Convener of ABVP said, “Our four office bearers have been very active on campus, visiting the students in various colleges to solve their issues. For example, when a lot of students were being denied their admit cards by their respective colleges, ABVP lead DUSU to ensure that all these students were permitted to write their exam.”
Despite the claims by the party, the student community feels that it has not been successful in fulfilling their aspirations. They critiqued that the method adopted by ABVP in their protests has often lead to a state of hooliganism. For example, when members threw out furniture from the Dean’s office as part of a protest. One of the party members was reportedly also involved in beating up a student of Deshbandhu College, when he did not agree to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai‘. Other parties like NSUI and AISA, have raised objections to the arbitrary use of the term ‘anti-national’; which the party has used to describe for protests in which it was not involved. While such accusations have been denied by their Media Coordinator, it remains to be seen whether this will help the party retain their throne or not.
NSUI which is the student wing of the Indian National Congress, has not been able to win the elections since the past two years. Despite the successive defeats, it will be giving another attempt at regaining its ground in student politics. NSUI has previously participated in protests against the FYUP policy; along with AISA, it led the protest against a decision by the Bar Council of India (BCI) which drastically affected several law aspirants. It has also showed dissent over the university’s decision of introducing the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), which according to the party created confusion for both the faculty and the students.
Recently, along with Oscar Fernandez the party conducted an interactive session ensuring to look after the needs of the students from North East. NSUI also actively participated, along with other political parties in the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) strike earlier this year. Speaking to Campus Watch, Nirbhesh – a member of NSUI, said, “Our party stood for the rights of DUTA as we felt that if a teacher who is nurturing the future of the nation is not being treated rightly then how can we expect our nation to be led by bright students.”
NSUI’s list of candidates for this year includes Nikhil Yadav for the post of the President, Arjun Chaprana for the post of Vice- President, Vinita Dhaka for the post of Secretary and Mohit Garid for the post of Joint Secretary. Interestingly, three out of four of their candidates are first year students. The party believes that despite being new to the college life, these candidates are not strangers to the arena of student politics and the problems being faced by the student body. By keeping fresh candidates on the forefront, NSUI does seem to have a unique strategy – however, whether this will work in their favour or against them is something which cannot be ascertained as of now.
Apart from ABVP and NSUI, DUSU elections will also witness participation from AISA, which is the student wing of the Communist Party of India. Its list of candidates includes Kawalpreet Kaur for President, Amrita Queen for Vice President, Amish Anjul Verma for Secretary and Ankita Nirmal for Joint Secretary. With this list, AISA is the only party to have three women as its candidates, which puts it at a unique position for the upcoming elections.
In the past year, AISA has been tediously working for the welfare of the students especially with the student community’s Right to Accommodation. The party has done this by pushing for House Rent Allowance for students, hostel seats for students, and also by working upon the implementation of the Room Rent Control Act. It has even started a campaign by the name of ‘A Room of My Own’ in order to convey to the Government the need for more hostel facilities across the University. In addition, AISA also vigorously supported the cause of DUTA, and participated in their protest held earlier this year.
All the three contesting parties have been active in working towards the welfare of the students, irrespective of the fact whether they were in power or not. Meanwhile, there is CYSS (Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti) the student wing of Aam Aadmi Party, which has decided not to contest in the elections this year.
So will ABVP score a hattrick this time? Or will NSUI get third time lucky? It remains to be seen which party will gain the maximum votes, however, it is important that the student community votes in large numbers so that they can choose the best of candidates for the upcoming year.