In the year 1973, the University of Delhi (DU) expanded in order to keep up with the ever-increasing number of students and, therefore, the South Campus was established.
The Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) is a body that represents the concerns of enrolled students in front of the administration and also has the job of organising cultural activities for the colleges it is affiliated with. Every year, the parties like the Congress-backed National Students’ Union of India and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad amongst others, contest elections. However, there are many colleges that have their own internal students’ unions and are not affiliated with DUSU at all. In the North Campus, colleges like St. Stephen’s College, Indraprastha College for Women, and Daulat Ram College are a part of that group. Despite not being affiliated with DUSU, they get to witness the best and worst of the elections season, by virtue of being in the campus.
This becomes all the more evident in the South Campus, particularly in girls’ colleges like Jesus and Mary College, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, and Maitreyi College, which do not have any involvement with the DU students’ politics and their first-year students, often, have no idea about these parties.
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 section 6.1.7(f) states, “Subject to the autonomy of the universities in respect of the choice of the mode of election, all universities and institute must have 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. Such colleges feel like their internal students’ body does a much better job at representing the problems of the students because they are a part of that college themselves and the process of elections is less complicated. Ironically, the section 6.3 of the Lyngdoh Committee also states that there must be disassociation of student elections and student representation from political parties. This section has been outrageously neglected as all the DUSU parties are college-level counterparts of national political parties. The implementation of these recommendations is highly questionable when it comes to DU politics. Besides, there are also recommendations like INR 5000 being the maximum expenditure per candidate and there should be no disturbance of academic and non-academic activities of the university.
The election campaigning, in reality, sees all manners of over-budgeting. Be it fancy cars, free meals, or the sea of flyers, these candidates leave no stone unturned to ensure victory. North Campus students often complain of classes being disrupted, harassment by party members, or supporters and other forms of unpleasant incidents during elections, but the South Campus girls’ colleges are far from it.
We, as South Campus students, are saved from all of this trouble. But in the end, the question remains: are we missing out on an integral part of the DU experience?
Feature Image Credits: The Hindu