The Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections are given a lot of coverage at the national level and are impossible to miss for students bombarded with campaigning. But what is their relevance?
The Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) election is either a very fascinating or deeply disheartening exercise, depending on how wary you are of student politics at this point. Irrespective of your state of mind regarding this wonderful mechanism of giving students a voice or this total waste of time and resources, some basic information about the whole thing is essential. What is it about these elections that students’ choices routinely make national headlines? What does DUSU election entail?
DUSU refers to an organisation comprising elected members from affiliated Delhi University colleges. Colleges like St. Stephen’s and Lady Shri Ram College for Women are part of the few who aren’t affiliated to the DUSU. According to the DUSU Constitution, one of its objectives is to “promote a spirit of oneness among the students of the University of Delhi”; along with promoting a sense of service towards the state and harmonious relations among the students. Its panel consists of the posts of President, Secretary, Vice-President, and Joint Secretary, with President and Secretary being the prime posts. It can also organise events like blood donation camps, debates, competitions, lecture series, and even publish journals. But perhaps DUSU’s most important function is that of meeting, discussing and making representations to the University authorities on matters concerning the common students.
Problems regarding college infrastructure and policies are dealt with by the means of the college unions most of the time. Where DUSU becomes instrumental is in being a representation of the students and reflecting their needs and demands. The Council for 2015-16 had, for example, staged long protests outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office upon the issue of mass failing of B.Comm students in the examinations held in May-June, 2017. This session’s outgoing council has, however, been quite driven by politics. The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP)-majority Council led a “Tiranga march” this year in response to the protests against the Ramjas College violence where President Amit Tanwar said, “I urge all of you, that if such an anti-national incident occurs in your college, give these Communists a fitting reply and throw them out”. In such a context, having a panel of DUSU council that accurately forwards the views of the majority of the students rather than be governed by vested interests is necessary for ensuring a safe, harmonious campus.
Delhi University is also known for bringing a sort of “mini-India” together with people coming from various social, economic, and, the point of interest for national political parties-geographical backgrounds. It is the biggest central university of the country, situated in the national capital, and its election results are seen as a bellwether for where the national political winds are blowing. The 2014 DUSU elections results, for one, reflected the national mood when all 4 posts were swept away by the ABVP.
The DUSU elections are also a gateway to politics as a career. The current Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley and Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs, Vijay Goel have both been presidents of the DUSU as young ABVP leaders. Aam Aadmi Party leader, Alka Lamba has also been a former president of National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and so has Congress leader, Ajay Maken.
So the next time you are confused upon seeing student parties spend a lot of time, effort, and freebies on securing votes, understand that it’s not you, it’s them. Specifically, their long-term goals of securing even greater power.
Image Credits: DU Beat