What was once termed as a force to reckon with, is now merely a shadow of its past. Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS), the student wing of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) contested in the 2015 Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections but did not win. CYSS was the star debutante in the 2015 elections and was perceived at the time a strong opposition to the hegemony established by NSUI and ABVP in previous DUSU elections.
Students who were disappointed with the political climate then considered CYSS as a strong third alternative to clean up the murky politics. Despite huge hoardings of Arvind Kejriwal greeting students and asking for votes, CYSS did not win any seat and scored 16% of the total vote share. Barring a candle-light march to protest against ABVP’s hooliganism in the Ramjas row, it has been relatively absent from the DU political scene in 2017.
While it’s a speculative ‘fact’ that parent party’s win directly correlates to the chances of its student wing winning; why did CYSS lose in 2015, when AAP government raked a record 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi legislative assembly elections? The agendas of CYSS are largely similar in ideology to AAP’s, which pertain to everyday issues of a student and plan to ensure a corruption-free university.
Anmol Panwar, the CYSS spokesperson and Vice-President, in conversation with DU Beat, said, “We boycotted elections last year because we don’t support the current muscle and money power politics in DUSU. Once DUSU candidates are declared, countless pamphlets are thrown in contravention to the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations (LCR). University authorities are aware, complaints are filed, but no action is taken against the perpetrators. Because of this, independent candidates with great ideas lose out to the bigger parties. If the situation changes, we could contest this year too.”
Leading up to the 2015 elections, CYSS was involved in multiple controversies. In 2015, CYSS faced backlash for putting up ‘fake’ posters of opinion polls that it would win 45% of the total votes; the veracity of which could not be verified. Similarly, opposition parties alleged that more than 50 hoardings had been put up across the capital, which was in violation to LCR which states that candidates cannot spend more than INR 5000 in campaigning. In September the same year, a concert, ‘DU Rocks’ was organised which had celebrities like Jasleen Royal, Vishal Dadlani(AAP supporter) and Arvind Kejriwal himself addressing the gathering.
The LCR clearly calls for disassociation of student elections and student representation from political parties. These allegations, amid dwindling support and lack of trust for AAP government in Delhi back then moulded into a sticky situation for CYSS. There’s always a chance the party may make a comeback, the same depending on their ability to garner support through the LCR guidelines it accuses others of not following.
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