The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) gave an open call for an alliance of all “Left-Progressive” student organisations to fight the upcoming student union polls together.
Students of the University of Delhi (DU) will elect their representatives in the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) on 12th September, which means the various student parties are currently campaigning.
The SFI, amidst this, has given a call for a “broader left coalition” to fight the upcoming DUSU polls. The party gave a lengthy rationale for this call. “We only have our solidarity to resist the politics of money, muscle and arrogance,” the SFI’s statement read. While asserting that the various left organisations have agreed to come together on a common minimum programme, the statement admits that “There can be some confusion flowing from how do we define the progressive forces which can lead to various conceptions of unity also.” Calling for a “unity which would electorally reflect the united struggles of the progressive students in Delhi University,” the statement denounced “the short-cut of the opportunistic electoral alliance by compromising the ideals of progressive student movements”. The statement also said that the alliance would fulfil “aspirations and demands” of DU students to see a “grand left alliance in DU on the lines of JNU.”
Speaking to DU Beat, Sumit Kataria, Vice President of SFI Delhi, said that there are two aspects behind this call given by his party – one, the electoral calculations; two, regarding campus protests. Saying that the SFI and the All India Students’ Association (AISA) – “historically the two major left organisations” in DU – have counted on a diverse voter base, Mr. Kataria pointed out that both parties have had certain colleges as their respective strongholds, and that it would make sense “to combine this influence electorally” to have a higher vote share to go against the incumbent Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). From the voters’ perspective, he said that many students who support both parties “get disillusioned due to the lack of an electoral alliance and end up not voting for anyone.”
Secondly, regarding political activity on campus, Mr. Kataria says that the left parties have organised joint protests on multiple issues. However, he alleged that some of these organisations had taken “sectarian positions” when it came to the DUSU elections.
Has the SFI made similar calls in the past as well? Did it receive a positive response? Mr. Kataria says that while the AISF and the All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO) have been contesting the DUSU polls along with the SFI as a united panel for the last three years, this panel is incomplete “without some left organisations who have adamantly stuck to their sectarian positions.”
However, parties such as the ABVP seem to be much ahead in the campaigning department. The party has already released a list of potential candidates and can be seen rallying across the campus. Similarly, the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) officially launched in campaign through a press conference yesterday – 27th August.
On the other hand, the left parties are trying to come to a common ground for an alliance. It cannot be denied that the ABVP and the NSUI seem to be strategically ahead of the left parties. Mr. Kataria agrees. “We should (have done) that (alliance-making) earlier,” he said. However, he also added that the names of the candidates released by the ABVP were only probables and not the final names. “Discussion on alliance is going on,” he said.
What about the response? Mr. Kataria told us that AISF, AIDSO, and AISA were supposedly discussing the matter among their respective organisations. “Still, AISF most probably and AIDSO will join but from AISA we have not got any satisfactory reply,” he said.
Sources say that the AISA is also closing in on finalising and announcing its candidates for the polls.
We contacted the representatives of ABVP, AISA, and NSUI for detailed responses, but they did not comment by the time of the publication of this article.
Feature Image credits – Jaishree Kumar for DU Beat
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