With just months to go for the state elections, in October, the Congress-run Delhi government had proposed a revolutionary plan in favour of the students having their domicile in Delhi. The plan offered an average of 68 percent reservation in 28 colleges of the University of Delhi. Not leaving behind in the race to polls, the Bhartiya Janta Party too joined the track by claiming the decision as being instigated by its own party agenda. Nonetheless, the stakes are high and whether its a serious reservation docket or a fantastical poll mantra is still a matter of debate.
If passed, this plan would ensure that not less than 90 percent of seats would be reserved in colleges fully funded by the state government and about 50 percent in those partially funded by it. With the state elections nearing and taking into context the huge number of seats being reserved, this might eventually be seen as a politically-driven manoeuvre or even more less, a mere rhetoric.
Though, even after a month, the decision is still being condemned by various student bodies and has flared up the reservation debate once again with many terming it as a directed political twist. “It is a populist stunt and a political gimmick.”, said All India Students’ Association’s (AISA) National President, Sandeep Singh. “The state government should better take interest in improving the primary and medium level education system.”, he added.
ABVP is too flowing in the same wind. “DU is a central university, and state goverment should refrain from using it for its own poll agenda.” said ABVP’s National Executive Member, Raj Kumar Sharma. When asked about the similar poll agenda by BJP, he made a clear distinction between the two parties saying that ABVP works in interest of students and has its own perception.
The Bhartiya Janta party too came out all guns blazing, with Dr. Harshwardhan, the Chief Ministerial hopeful from the party referring this to as indirect plagiarism. “Our party’s national president Shri Rajnath Singh ji has already raked up the issue several times and Congress has just taken a leaf out of his book.”, he said.
Though, Congress is getting support on this from the party’s students wing National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), with President Rohit Chaudhary fully supporting the plan. “Certain DU colleges are funded by the state government and hence Delhi students must have the advantage of reservation.” he said.
Aam Aadmi Party, the first time contender in the State elections refused to comment on the issue.
With varying approaches to the issue from the different contesting parties, it might be adhering to poll tactics keeping in mind the large vote bank of young voters in the stake.
Image Credit: Sahil Jain