On Thursday, 5th September 2019, DU Beat conducted an interview with Ankit Bharti, the Vice-Presidential Candidate from National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) in context to the upcoming Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections.
(Translated from Hindi)
Satviki: To the common student, DUSU feels like an unapproachable political entity. What will you and your party do to ensure accountability to the students of Delhi University?
Ankit: NSUI has initiated various campaigns. The current Awaaz Uthao Seeti Bajao campaign is initiated for equality in the campus, where we have taken issues of university special buses and 24/7 library. We are also working on providing hostel facilities for outstation students. Our issues also include one course, one fee to ensure that the fees across all courses remain the same. The central library is closed before the elections and opens after it. So we would ensure that the library is open all the time.
We also want to increase the accessibility of Placement Cell in colleges for students who come to DU with their dreams and aspirations.
Satviki: You said NSUI will improve hostel facilities in DU and bring the fee changes through ‘One course, one fee’ program. How exactly are you planning to do that?
Ankit: NSUI has been working on this for a long time, to view everyone with the same eyes and not discriminate. Which is also why NSUI has initiated the program in the first place. The students who come from outstation have to face many difficulties. Not everyone can afford the fees, and the hostels also not open to everyone. So under this program, we want to provide equal opportunity to all students, be they from a rich family, a middle-class family, a poor family, or disabled.
Satviki: The incidents on Old Gupta Road and Hindu Rao Hospital highlight security concerns for those living in the north campus. What steps will you take to ensure safety and security on campus?
Ankit: DU has always been ruled through muscle and money power. The people who get elected in the union are usually from the upper castes, with a lot of money. People from backward castes are not able to contest usually, due to not being economically strong.
So these upper-caste politicians maintain a good relationship with the police. Moreover, the students from backward caste have to face many difficulties, such as Pramod Kumar Sanu, who was recently beaten up. Neither has the university has taken any steps for him nor have the police, because he was a Dalit student.
So casteism is extremely prevalent in the university. The first thing we would do is increase the security in and around the university so all students feel safe and end hooliganism in the university. For this, we would take to the police and convince them to work with us.
Satviki: How inclusive do you think NSUI is in terms of minority and LGBTQIA+ representation?
Ankit: NSUI has initiated the program of ‘One University, Equal Opportunity’ to give the same opportunity to everyone, regardless of their caste, race, religion, or gender. After such a long time, NSUI has allowed a woman as their presidential candidate. So, we work based on equality, unlike other parties where muscle power and money power are taken into consideration such that no one can raise their voices against them.
Satviki: Campaigning every year uses up a tremendous amount of paper for pamphlets, posters, etc which then leads to litter on campus. What is your say on the matter?
Ankit: We have tried to highlight the use of social media this time for our campaigns so that the paper isn’t wasted. This time we will make full efforts to not litter the roads with campaign paper and will try not to allow opposition parties to say anything against us.
Satviki: Delhi University was recently declared an Institute of Eminence by the Union Government which entitles DU to payment of a 1000 crores over 5 years, however, the trend in 2019 in DU has been of increasing fees and hostel rates. Why do you think this is so? And what will your party do to reduce fee hikes and hostel rates?
Ankit: This is all under the central government where they revise fees. We will initiate a campaign against this as we understand that in DU people come from all backgrounds and cannot afford expensive tuition. We will talk to the university administration.
Satviki: The overriding perception of University politics is that It involves dirty politics, strong-arming, and violence. What has your party done to prove this perception wrong during this campaigning period, and what does it plan to do to reduce these perceptions in the future?
Ankit:This time all the candidates come from a middle-class family. Chetna Tyagi, Aashish Lamba, and I all come from a middle-class family with no political backing. I come from a Dalit family. So, based on this, we can fairly say NSUI does not believe in money or muscle power.
Satviki: The Lyngdoh Committee lays down 5000 rupees as the maximum expenditure amount, how does your party maintain it?
Ankit: We are working on social media so that our paper is not wasted and it remains under 5000. We do not want to break any rules of the committee.
Satviki: Last year, there were allegations of EVM tampering against ABVP, also to be noted, the EVM’S were privately supplied and not by the Election Commission. How will you ensure that incidents like this don’t occur this year and how do you plan to make sure elections are held fairly?
Ankit: We will talk to the Cheif Election Officer and give them an application beforehand so there is no tampering. If there’s still some cases of tampering, we will try to find solutions for it.
Satviki: Which element differentiates you from the other contenders for the post of Vice President?
Ankit: Firstly, my candidates have power, both in terms of muscle power and money power. I, on the other hand, am a Dalit. They get people from outside for campaigning, whereas we believe in the strength of our group itself. We have the students’ support with us.
Satviki: What message would you like to give to the students of DU so that they choose you?
Ankit: I would first like to thank NSUI for rising above all discrimination and giving me this opportunity to run as a candidate. NSUI has ended the politics of discrimination and chosen me, a person from a Dalit family.
Feature Image Credits: NSUI