The ruckus of college elections has been a major bone of contention between students and DUSU candidates. Shouting while campaigning and openly flouting rules have further aggravated the issue. Could this be why so many colleges are not affiliated to DUSU?
With the elections season dawning upon Delhi University, freshers have managed to catch a glimpse of the obtrusive manner of the month-long frenzy. Classes being disrupted, loud sloganeering resonating through college walls, and a literal sea of pamphlets to step on – these are just a few pointers that the election season is fast approaching.
Despite being an ostentatious simulation of real life-politics, there are a good number of colleges that do not observe this annual commotion as they aren’t affiliated to the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) body. St. Stephen’s College, Kamala Nehru College, Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, etc. form the minority of colleges that are not involved in the DUSU election process and have a separate college union in replacement of that.
There is a clause in the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations that explains how colleges should be a part of DUSU. Under section 6.1.7, it is written, “Subject to the autonomy of the universities in respect of the choice of the mode of election, all universities must institute an apex student representative body that represents all students, colleges, and departments coming under the particular university. In the event that the university is geographically widespread, individual colleges may constitute their own representative bodies, which would further elect representatives for the apex university body.” The Lyngdoh Committee guidelines were issued by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2006 in accordance with the direction of the Supreme Court to reform students’ union elections. The implementation of these recommendations is largely missing, as rules are continuously flouted and we still observe the use of money and muscle power in politics.
It’s astounding to think of at first – why aren’t so many colleges affiliated to the official students’ union? After further research and pondering, a pattern of sorts can be observed. Most colleges that have distanced themselves from DUSU are girls’ colleges, and a lot of them have been vying for an autonomous status since the past year. St. Stephen’s College and Lady Shri Ram College for Women have their own student unions in place and a remarkable absence of the hullabaloo that is mainstream in North Campus. Bharati College pulled itself out from DUSU’s wing in 2008, as did Jesus and Mary College about 40 years back when students opted against the DUSU system for governance, citing the politicised atmosphere as a top reason. Daulat Ram College, Gargi College and Indraprastha College for Women are also not affiliated to DUSU. While there is no one particular reason why popular colleges are digressing further away from student politics, the hotly debated question pops up frequently: is a college’s student union a better choice over DUSU?
Many colleges like Miranda House and Shri Ram College of Commerce have adopted a unique approach to address this issue; they conduct DUSU elections and have an active students’ union to facilitate the representation of its college students at a university-wide platform and ensure day-to-day governance in the hands of the college union. With upto 14,000 votes clocked for NOTA and a declining voter turnout down by nearly 7% from the previous year, many continue to doubt the relevance of DUSU elections. Apart from a basic exposure to politics at university level and large-scale cultural events, DUSU functions are similar to those of college unions, the ruckus and mess caused by them notwithstanding. Whether colleges continue to stay under the umbrella of DUSU or plan to digress, only time will tell.
Feature Image Credits: The Hindu