After days of anticipation and a rigorous electoral campaign, ABVP’s Vice Presidential candidate Priyanka Chhawri emerged victorious. A graduate in Mathematics from Lakshmibai College , University of Delhi, and currently pursuing her M.A in Buddhist Studies from Dept. Of Buddhist Studies, DU, from discussing her journey into politics to her plans of bringing changes in the campuse, we got chatting with her about her new found role.
DUB: What motivated you to pursue your candidature in the DUSU elections? How did your journey into student level politics begin?
Priyanka Chhawri: I am a student activist from the past five years and it all started when I appeared for CATE entrance and saw a group of students protesting at the arts faculty against the DU administration. The protest was led by ABVP.I was so influenced by the student leaders that it occurred to me that I must also be there one day! So when I got admission in LBC, I joined ABVP and became an active member! I saw a great change in me in these five years. ABVP groomed me into a more confident and responsible person and with time I attained the leadership skills that were needed to contest in DUSU elections and now, here I am, as the DUSU Vice President.
DUB: What are your some of the key areas that you are personally looking forward to focusing upon in your tenure?
PC: Personally , I would focus more on introducing societies for blind and physically handicapped students, constructing pathways for the same, giving North Campus a new look by putting the map of the campus near metro and recognised places, creating awareness session about the women safety app launched by ABVP – ‘I FEEL SAFE’, in every college, providing health cards,making medical rooms functional in every college and providing the facility of printed mark sheets be issued to students after every semester.
DUB: The DUSU polls saw some lavish campaigning this time again. What is your take on the guidelines by Lyngdoh Committee and National Green Tribunal about the budget restrictions and green campaigning? Do you think they are realistic targets that can be met?
PC: I think it’s not feasible to contest DUSU election in just 5ooo Rupees. How unrealistic it is, that the same amount is allowed to both contest college elections and DUSU? From the last four years , the Lyngdoh Committee hasn’t been reviewed and it’s time that we look into this matter.So, as an officer bearer, I will certainly put forward this issue. As far as paper usage is concerned, it is reduced as compared to last two years but yes it needs to end and just be limited to wall of democracy and advertising sites.
DUB: Last year saw DUSU office bearers being involved in some controversy or the other and accountability and work transparency was also an issue. How do you seek to tackle that?
PC: ABVP led DUSU is very committed to work for the student welfare and we have started working the day we joined our office. We submitted a memorandum to the DSW concerning the issues of students and currently we are working to combat the recent mass failure of the LL.B students regarding which, we have given a letter to the VC. This DUSU panel is dedicated to work for the student community and we have started our work positively !
DUB: NSUI has alleged discrepancy in the voting process and after a hunger strike, they are now planning to move to the court. What is your take on this whole matter?
PC: DU is a democratic university and it’s NSUI’s democratic right to get their doubts clear but I think by doing this they are questioning the mandate of the students. I think they should accept the decision of the students and move on and raise students issues rather than sitting and challenging the choice of students.
DUB: Having gone through the entire process of filing nominations, becoming the final candidate to actually winning, is there anything that you wish to change (procedural or otherwise) in the way DUSU elections unfold?
PC: From filing the nomination to actually contesting DUSU was a great experience. The administration has been very cautious during the scrutiny. But, an incident that seemed like a failure to me was when a candidate who filled the nomination was not present during scrutiny. It should become mandatory for all the candidates to be present during that process.
DUB: DUSU elections have been known to provide the country with some of the finest ministers we have had at the helm of authority in the past. Do you see yourself there? Do you plan to continue in politics?
PC: As of now , I will be working for the students and continue as a student activist.
DUB: Any interesting anecdote you would like to share with us that happened during the election process?
PC: Yes. Once I was delivering a speech in Shaheed Bhagat Singh College. I was in such a hurry (because it was the last day to campaign and I had to cover many colleges) that I forgot the last part and garbled some words and ran away. The students found it so funny and they said, ‘Hum samajh gaye aapki bhaavna’.
DUB: In a line, how would you define your motto for this year as a DUSU office bearer?
PC: I want this DUSU panel to be a medium of exposure for the student community. I will work on involving more students in every activity that is organised by DUSU!
Interviewed by Riya Chhibber