By Shivanshi Khanna:
On September 11, National Students Union of India (NSUI) alleged discrepancies in the polling and vote counting process of this year’s Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections. This year, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) won 3 seats in the central panel of DUSU and NSUI won the position of ‘Joint Secretary’, making a comeback after a gap of two years.
The party had a made a complaint regarding the same to the Grievance Redressal Committee and in response to that, NSUI was handed over recordings and other data regarding the polling. However, the party was unconvinced and said that the recordings do not cover all the tables where counting took place. They claim that only two tables are shown in the recordings, whereas 12 other tables containing 140 counting machines are not in the recording at all. Their demands include receiving details regarding the exact number of votes polled at each voting machine and total votes received by each candidate.
A member of NSUI explained to us why they believe that the result isn’t accurate. He said, “Students complained about being forced to vote for parties against their will. In South Campus, some students’ identity cards were used to cast a vote, without them being physically present to do so. It was quite weird to get the results within 25 minutes, a time period too short to count over thousands of votes. We received complaints from over ten colleges. From Hindu college, we were told that students pressed on a ballot number but the vote went to someone else. We have registered a FIR for such cases and even have a petition signed by around 500 students. It’s not about us not winning. We just want transparency in the election system. We should be given rights over recording the counting process. We should have a right to know the total votes received through a ballot machine. We were told that the electronic voting machines do not show total votes per ballot, which is quite disappointing, showing the lack of use of technology on the part of the government.”
“We demand recounting of the votes polled for all the posts and the election commission should furnish us with the recordings of the counting process. To ensure transparency we should also be told the number of votes polled per voting machine and secured by each candidate,” said Angellica Aribam, NSUI National Secretary. They have also asked for no office bearer to take charge of their positions until transparency in the counting process is proved and the postponement of the Executive Council Elections.
We spoke to a member of ABVP, who said, “ABVP has been working for the students and with the students in the university every time. The allegation is totally absurd. It is our work that has made us win and it is our presence within the student’s body which has led to our victory. It is for the students to decide and they have already decided. The candidate of NSUI used money to win elections, when he was not able to win. This is their strategy to come in the media. What they are doing is politics and not student activism.”
Saket Bahuguna, National Media Convener of ABVP also denied the allegations, stating, “There was no issue; it was created by NSUI to garner public sympathy, but it did not work. The entire process was transparent and NSUI office bearers were present at the vote counting venue. NSUI should gracefully accept the mandate of the student community. They should understand that it takes a lot of hard work to win the hearts of the voters. Money and muscle power is not liked by the aware voters of DU.”