On Thursday, September 13, the DUSU election results were declared. As expected the EVM became a topic of controversy again. Defamation has become an intrinsic trait in all political elections; whether it’s a local body, state election or the student elections. The losing party always ends up blaming one thing which is incapable of defending itself- the electronic voting machine.
Delhi University, is the most popular university in India. With over three lakh students enrolled in different courses, DU is among the largest universities in the country. Delhi University policies strictly prohibit discrimination of any kind, hence, the student applications are invited from all over the world. This diversity among students symbolises the inclusivity of DU. From social to political and from political to economic, various students of distinct backgrounds get enrolled in the university each year. A blend of such varied orientations makes this university the Holy Grail of education.
University students had been aspiring for their representatives to win, after the two weeks of continuous and intensive electoral process. Along with DUSU, about 63 other colleges chose their representatives during this process. More than one lakh students used the EVM for the first time, and this process provided them with an experience of how a democracy works and how exercising democratic rights is crucial for a country’s progress. With this year’s voter turnout of 44.5%, the voter participation has increased by 2%. It is safe to say that the students were keen on exercising their democratic duty after carefully considering their representatives.
The affiliated political parties of these student groups claim to not indulge in DUSU elections directly, but it is evident throughout the elections that the senior leaders of the political parties like BJP and Congress, do participate by providing all sorts of resources to help their student wings and affiliated organizations. Influential attorneys of the RSS and Congress, often represent ABVP and NSUI, respectively in the legal matters as well. Every now and then, these elections become a source of competition for the national parties as well. Thus, emphasizing the relevance of DUSU elections in mainstream politics. You can also see the pictures of the winning candidates in newspapers, visiting their political/ideological mentors to seek their blessings.
This university has inculcated leadership skills to the members of almost all political parties. The leaders of DU, now represent all mainstream political parties including BJP, Congress, AAP etc. Whether it was the senior leaders such as Arun Jaitley, Vijay Goyal, Ajay Makan, or the new leaders such as Alka Lamba, Tarun Kumar, Sushmita Dev, Anil Chaudhary, Anil Jha, Arvinder Singh Lovely, all were significantly active in their university days. Some participated as candidates in DUSU elections and some were involved in non-candidate participation.
DU has been conducting the student union elections for years now and it has always reflected the mood of the nation. These elections give enough insight to political pundits for considering the polls as a pre-study for state and general elections. The students of DU are the residents and non-political representatives of various states and communities, their mood, therefore, reflects the nations’ mood. Because of these exceptional reasons, DUSU elections’ significance cannot be neglected.
DU Elections are considered a predictor of the election pattern for national elections. Although conducted annually the winning patterns of DUSU have usually indicated the winning patterns in central elections. If we closely analyse the chart above, initially the Congress-backed NSUI has a clean sweep in DUSU elections. In the subsequent general elections, BJP was defeated, and Congress was able to make a come back in the centre with the help of other political parties. Again in 2008, the voting percentage increased, and NSUI won 3 out of 4 seats.
Similarly, in the 2009 general election, Congress was successful in maintaining their winning streak. From 2010 onwards ABVP’s presence in DUSU elections increased, and they won 3 out of 4 seats in 2013. Simultaneously, in the general elections of 2014, BJP became the ruling party with a majority in the centre. In 2017, we observed the patterned rivalry between ABVP and NSUI. As a result, we observed that the Congress managed to give an intense fight in 2017 DUSU elections.
The increase in this year’s voter turnout is an interesting aspect. It shows that students’ interest in politics has increased and they are ready to play an active role in student politics just before the general elections. Although these events could be pure coincidences but is this not exactly how the statistical researches operate? Numbers never lie, and the same numbers have displayed a correlation between DUSU and the central elections. The importance of elections can’t be undermined and by considering an election not worth voting is a disgrace to the society. The patterns above describe how the elections of the largest university in the country are associated with the central elections. In the year 2014, while the central elections had a voter turnout of 66.8% (highest in the recorded history), DUSU elections also reflected a turnout of 44.4% which was also comparatively higher.
This year, DUSU elections polled 44.5 % vote and ABVP managed to win three top seats out of the four. Everyone knows that ABVP belongs to the same ideological family as BJP. The result of this election also exemplifies how the RSS and its political associates have managed to fathom the pulse of the youth and the public better than any political organizations. The General elections of 2019 are approaching, and DUSU elections which always decode the election conundrum may just become a cause of distress for the Congress.
DUSU elections have become an important spectacle for political parties. Last year, after NSUI won two seats in DUSU elections, the Congress claimed that youth has rejected Modi and now they are leaning towards Rahul Gandhi. But, the 2018 elections have turned the tables around. There is no doubt that the BJP and ABVP, have proved the impact of DUSU elections wrong after the decimal performance last year. However, by blaming the EVM machine, the opposing parties just reflected crude sportsmen spirit. But the data on this election and earlier elections is before us and tell us a story which the political parties cite when they win.