The declaration of Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) results on 13th September ended a month of hooliganism, ruckus, and violation of rules in the name of campaigning.
Every year, the months of August and September witness frenzy and chaos. The roads are littered with flyers and posters, a number of posters with misspelt names of the candidates are pasted on the walls in the Campus area, and rallies pave way for traffic jam. This year too, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) won three seats out of four, establishing their majority in the
The voter turnout was recorded at 39.9 percent this year, over four notches down from the last year voter turnout. One of the key points highlighted in this year’s manifestoes of various student political organisations was less wastage of paper. However, candidates contesting DUSU elections clearly violated this rule. The shocking thing here is, that even though the University has a regulatory authority to check these violations, no one comes forward to point these; not even the administration. It is easy to notice all the enthusiasm of the newly elected office bearers slowly fade away as we inch closer to the end of the year.
I remember, during an interview with Sunny Chillar, the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) Presidential candidate for DUSU elections, 2018, the demand of a subsidised INR 10 thali (platter) was discussed. The students of the University were assured that no matter what the election results would be, the thali will be provided to them, since, over 70 percent of students are from the economically weaker sections of the society. A common agenda discussed by both the ABVP and the NSUI almost every year is concessional Metro and Delhi Transport Corporation bus passes for the students of the University of Delhi (DU). However, we, as students, are only able to see a few protest marches and letters written to different ministers and the Administration. On questioning about the same to our student leaders, they reply, “It will happen soon.” Will it be soon enough, for the next set of candidates, to put forward the same demand in next year’s manifesto?
In the race of winning the elections, what the student leaders forget is the reason they are running for the position. Is it for fame? Or, is it for representing and working for the student community? Attacks on opponents are not something new in the election season. The sad part here is, that most of the students of the University equate DUSU election season to violence in and around Campus. The manifestoes talk about the safety of students but, in reality, election season makes us, the student community, feel more unsafe than ever.
Did you know that the DUSU also has a constitution of its own? Yes, most of you do not. The official website of the University has a link to the Constitution. It is a 16-page document which roughly has eight chapters that broadly discuss the functioning, funding, and objectives of the Union. The Vice Chancellor of the University is the Patron, and takes all the necessary steps for the smooth functioningof DUSU in accordance with the DUSU Constitution. The underlying fact is that, even though all this has been defined in the Constitution, our very own elected student leaders fail to abide by it. Or rather, they forget the ideals upon which the Constitution was established. It is sad to see them absent from the important student-related issues but they are present when a Bollywood celebrity visits a college.
Concluding in the words of Srivedant Kar, former Associate Editor of DU Beat, “It’s high time these elections stop referring to things that the Union cannot do and instead start becoming a fight about what the Union can, and should, do.”