DUSU Elections 2017


Newly elected Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) President, Rocky Tuseed now faces a setback to his victory run. On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court issued a notice to him after an intervening application held him guilty of concealing personal facts, including his arrest on criminal charges. The application was filed by Suman Chauhan and Jivesh Tiwari, counsel for Rajat Choudhary, the Presidental candidate of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhya Parishad (ABVP). This September, Tuseed broke a five-year spell when he was elected as the first President of the DUSU from the National Students Union of India (NSUI) since 2012. The controversial candidate won the election with 16,299 votes, beating Choudhary who gained 14,709 votes.

The Allegation

The ABVP has played the Lyngdoh trump card; a recurring move in University elections across the country. The Lyngdoh committee guidelines which were implemented in May 2006 are to be followed in the Students’ Union elections in order to establish accountability, transparency, and discipline. The complainants have claimed that Tuseed hasn’t abided by these guidelines in his run for President.

Firstly, the application claims that Tuseed did not disclose that an FIR had been registered against him in Rajouri Garden on August 6, 2014, under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint). It also mentions that he was sent to judicial custody on August 28, 2014, to September 15, 2014.In this respect, the Lyngdoh Committee guidelines state: The candidate shall not have a previous criminal record, that is to say, he should not have been tried and/or convicted of any criminal offence or misdemeanour. The candidate shall also not have been subject to any disciplinary action by the University authorities.

Secondly, the application alleges that Tuseed had been given ‘essential repeat’ in two semesters while pursuing a Masters in Buddhist Studies in the academic session 2016- 2017. The Lyngdoh committee states that “the candidate should in no event have any academic arrears in the year of contesting election”.

The NSUI stance

The NSUI has defended Tuseed by refuting charges in a press release earlier today. It accuses Choudhary of approaching the Delhi High Court on the basis of a false FIR which was registered by the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) government in August 2014 against a group of students, during the 2014 DUSU elections. According to the NSUI, the complainant had withdrawn the case against Tuseed within a month. They’ve also pointed out the fact that the newly elected ABVP DUSU Secretary, Mahameda Nagar is also being investigated in a criminal case filed by the Dean of Faculty of Law.

A bumpy presidential run

This is the third time that Tuseed has been accused of disciplinary charges. When the Delhi University’s Chief Election Officer’s (CEO) office released their list of candidates on 5 September, the NSUI candidate, Tuseed’s name had not been mentioned on “disciplinary grounds”. The NSUI had then sought to campaign for an independent candidate, Alka, until the High Court acquitted him of charges on 9 September, two days before the DUSU elections. This arbitrariness had also dogged his presidential run in the Department of Buddhist Studies last year. The election commission had cleared him to contest the election which he subsequently went on to win.

In the running for this year’s DUSU election, ABVP candidate, Choudhary had also been caught up in controversy. Independent candidate Raja Choudhary had been given police protection following his complaint to the police and the chief election commissioner, in which he alleged that he had been beaten up and threatened by the ABVP candidate. According to Raja, the ABVP candidate had feared that the students would get confused between the two names- Raja Choudhary and Rajat Choudhary, and would mistakenly vote for the other candidate rather than the candidate of their choice.

What now?

Justice Indermeet Kaur has sought a reply from Tuseed on November 15. The High Court has termed the alleged concealment on his part as “very serious”.

Keeping in mind the fact that the Lyngdoh Committee guidelines are more often flouted than not, students wonder whether any strong action will be taken against Tuseed. The same guidelines also mandate that candidates should not be affiliated with any national political party and that the campaigning expenditure per candidate should amount to ?5000. Yet, DUSU elections have been more about contesting parties than individual candidates. The expenditure requirement has also become a joke, so much so that when Tuseed cheekily announced in a discussion on national television that his total expenditure amounted to ?4800, every speaker laughed it off.

With inputs from The Indian Express

Image Credits: Financial Express

Swareena Gurung
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