On Sunday, 23rd September 2018, DU Beat conducted an interview with Aakash Choudhary, the newly elected Secretary of Delhi University Students Union from National Students’ Union of India.
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Question: Tell us about your journey from being a student in Sri Aurobindo College to DUSU Secretary.
Aakash: I took admission in Sri Aurobindo College (SAC) in 2014 and later contested the election in college for the post of President in 2015. That was the biggest election in terms of margin of votes where I won by 450 votes. I also
stood in the state NSUI elections and continued my studies simultaneously. In 2017, I graduated from SAC and
took admission in Campus Law Centre. I cleared my first and second semester exams with an aggregate of 58 percent, with 75 percent attendance. Then, I contested for DUSU elections. The party also considered me since I
had a good academics and attendance record. I had also been very active in the student politics. I had planned all
this in 2012 itself.
Question: Now that you are the DUSU Secretary, which are the areas you would like to focus on?
Aakash: The off-campus colleges like Aditi Mahavidyalaya, Bhagini Nivedita College are very far and it takes almost
two hours to reach there. When I visited these colleges, I noticed there were no proper playgrounds and sports facilities for students. In fact, many off-campus colleges do not have a proper functional library, medical
room or even a water cooler. So, firstly, I would like to focus on these colleges and provide them with the facilities
available to the other colleges.
Question: How do you plan to ensure a violence-free campus where our academics remain free from political
Aakash: NSUI campaigned last year with the motto of ensuring a violence-free campus, free from money, and
muscle power. The campus was peaceful last year, with no violence and insolence. This year we repeated the points of violence free campus in our manifesto. However, due to some reasons we only won one seat in the elections. At present, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is in power with 3 seats. As you have seen the violence created by Shakti Singh and his supporters in Zakir Husain Delhi College and violence on Kawalpreet Kaur in Kirori Mal College was caused by ABVP. So, I feel that ABVP indulges in violence on campus.
Question: What was the moment that you recall as being particularly unique in course of your entire campaign?
Aakash: I went to campaign in 52 colleges of DU and felt so blessed that everyone gave me such a warm welcome. This is because of 4 years of hard work which I have done. I went to SAC 5 days before I got my election ticket. That moment was very overwhelming, all the students came out from their classes and cheered for me. In fact the day I got my ticket, I once again visited SAC, however I reached a little late. Most of the students had left, but still the
others gave me a very warm welcome. It’s said that the colleges in Kalkaji campus are dominated by ABVP, but
since I have studied from that campus, I proved it wrong which was evident in the election results where I won by a margin of 6700 votes.
Question: In DUSU, there is a famous saying, ‘Kabhi jaat, kabhi gujjar’. Why have DUSU elections become so caste
Aakash: This is primarily because maximum votes in DU are from both these communities. If you look at South Campus, maximum votes are from the jaat community whereas in Kalkaji Campus, gujjars dominate the voting scenario. Family support is another factor in politics which leads to the dominance of both these communities.
Question: Since you are from NSUI, student wing of Congress and Lok Sabha elections are going to be held next year. So do you think there will be a desire for Congress to return?
Aakash: I firmly believe that Congress is going to return in the next elections even if it’s in coalition with some
other parties. If you check the election results of Jaipur National University and many other universities, NSUI has
won with flying colours. Some people may feel that ABVP has bagged three out of four seats in DU and NSUI has fallen weak. But everyone knows the case of EVM tampering that took place on the result day. Along with this,
ABVP DUSU President Ankiv Baisoya is also under the scanner due to his fake degree.
Question: DUSU has always been a stepping stone for making entry into Indian politics. Arun Jaitley and Ajay
Maken are well known examples, so are your future plans also in line with this?
Aakash: Yes, I am currently pursuing law and will practice it for some time. My main focus will be in politics only. I
belong to Rajasthan and the area is still not developed. The mentality of many people in Rajasthan is still limited to sip a cup of tea and read the newspaper in the morning. I would like to work for my native place and develop the area.
Question: As the DUSU Secretary, what role do you think the Union plays and what stand should the Union take
on national issues?
Aakash: I think the reserved category students in DU don’t get equal opportunity. They need help financially. The funds of the reserved category students have been reduced to INR 1800 crores by the University which are still on hold. The central government is trying to bring autonomy and privatise education. The main job of the Union at present should be passing of funds for the students. Placements of the students should also be taken care of.
Question: You have been the President of the Students Union in your college. How has that helped you emerge as a
Aakash: After becoming the President of SAC, I understood what I wanted to do. SAC has always been famous for
hooliganism and entry of outsiders. I remember an incident where J-star came to our college fest, someone slapped him, and apart from him 100 people were on stage creating ruckus. I didn’t like this at all. So when I became the President, the first and foremost thing I did was meeting and submitting an application to the SHO and DCP of Malviya Nagar. I told them that students in the fresher’s party should only be allowed with proper ID-Cards. I created a bit of pressure on them because of earlier instances that took place in the college. Also, during my tenure, I introduced two societies-Debating Society, and Arts and Crafts Society. I set a trend of a combined farewell of all the departments in the college like it takes place in North Campus. Now the canteen of SAC also has 5 functioning ACs. In short, the college has seen a transformation.
Question: We all are well-aware of the case of EVM tampering during the election results. What is the latest update on the same?
Aakash: The High Court has asked the University to secure the EVMs till 29th October 2018. I am hoping that the hearing reveals the true verdict. Aakash concluded the interview with a smile and said, “Baaki dekhenge aage!” (“Let’s see what happens next!”) The NSUI has also alleged that the DUSU elections 2018 were not
conducted in a free and fair manner. Many national political leaders like Ajay Maken have also spoken against
this issue, and pointed out that the University of Delhi should release some sort of clarification on the
problems of vote counting.
Feature Image Credits: Mahi Sanjay Panchal for DU Beat