Delhi Elections 2013


For the past year or so, especially after the alarming lack of safety for women in Delhi, and in India by extension, has assumed center stage in all the political discussions that I came across, the concluding note was always that the future of this country is in bleak hands.

The economy isn’t in shape (and the future shows no respite), the Indian currency has sunk to an all-time low (so we are being degraded internationally as well), everyone from a technician who is supposed to repair my landline to an official who has taken the oath to serve the people before his personal interests responds to cash (ranging from a mere Rs. 50 to a few lakhs, depending on what you need fixed) and women’s safety is in jeopardy. In short, everything that our founding fathers stood for has been traded for a bottle of vodka, cash or blind sense gratification. The part that bothered me the most was that no one was willing to do anything about it. We all complained, went to the market and bought some pepper spray and that was it. A movement started by Mr. Anna Hazare surfaced but that too fizzled out with time.

Even though Hazare’s efforts were in vain, one of his close associates, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal formed his own political party- The Aam Aadmi Party- in his attempt to fight back and save what’s left of our city. No one expected much from him and up until the day before the elections, everyone expected AAP to win a few seats at best, with Congress or BJP hogging up all the power. Surely, we’d have to put up with another 5 years of corruption and avarice (after all, AAP was only promising a better city, while its well heeled competitors promised food, alcohol, a grand for a vote).

But 8th December proved everyone wrong. BJP won 31 seats and Congress managed to retain 8 seats in its feeble grip. The most delightfully surprising result was that AAP- the party that was formally launched just last November, not only managed to sweep congress off its feet with 28 seats in the 70 seat assembly, Kejriwal defeated Dikshit, who has been Delhi’s CM for 15 years, from her own constituency by a staggering 22,000 something votes.

 Even though everyone is expecting astronomical change in Delhi’s administration, I am not worried whether AAP or BJP (who ever finally comes to power) is able to bring some welcome change and clean some of the mess Congress has made. The fact that Delhi has proven that it’s had enough and that running a country is no-one’s family business has proven that maybe democracy isn’t dead. The wave of change that started with discontent in people’s minds has finally started making way to the parliament. Maybe, it isn’t such a bad time to be an Indian after all.

Image courtesy: timesofindia.com

We’ve grown 18 years of age listening about politicians and politics, corruption and scams, lack of agility and force to cause an action in the society. But gone are the days when we were a mute spectator of growing problems, for now is the time to bring about a concrete solution to major, if not all problems prevalent today. The best way to this and to extend your support in a democracy is to vote.

With the voting process scheduled for tomorrow, 7th February 2015, here are a few things for you to keep in mind:

1. Be an informed voter

The entire city of Delhi has been divided into 70 constituencies with numerous candidates from each.. For detailed and objective information about the nominated candidates of your constituency do visit www.myneta.info, a portal that provides all necessary facts on qualification, allocated budget and use, and criminal proceedings, that can make you make up your mind and be an informed and aware voter.

2. What if I am in favour of none of the candidates?

If in case you are not satisfied by any of the candidates running in your constituency, choose the none of the above (NOTA) option on the EVM. If we have the liberty to express our collective decisions by choosing our leaders, then we have the right to express our displeasure at the candidates too. You should know it is not akin to ‘Right To Reject’ where if a certain percentage of the voters choose the latter option, the elections are cancelled and all the candidates have to be changed by the parties. In India, even if a majority of the voters choose NOTA, the candidate getting the most number of votes will win the contest.


3. Vote with prejudice to none

Cast your vote on the basis of your own research and experience, on your own vision and weighted capabilities of the individuals contesting elections. Narrow objects of voting in favour of known but incapable candidates does more bad than good. Refrain from being brainwashed my views, surveys and issues, base your thought process on them instead. Don’t vote for a party or candidate because your family is supporting it, rather vote because they meet your vision.

Do not let your voting decision to be affected by any externalities like call for votes on caste, creed, religion, gender or extended common roots. Do not accept any gifts, appeasements or cash from candidates, report events like distribution of liquor, undue influence, booth capturing to the regional election officer. Do not even accept nominal perks like commutation to the voting booth from the contestants.

4. How does the voting happen?

Mere possession of EPIC (elector’s photo identity card) doesn’t guarantee voting right, the name of voter should appear in the electoral roll. This checking of identification and credentials is the first thing that happens as the voter enters polling booth. The second polling officer marks the left hand forefinger of voter with indelible ink and takes his signature on the electoral roll. The third polling officer collects the electoral slip and makes the voter vote. The voter shall then press the button against the desired candidate, only once. The pressing of button would glow a red lamp in front of candidate’s name following a beep sound meaning that the vote has been is registered.

5. Secrecy of Vote & Tendered Vote

According to the Election Commission Guidelines, it is mandatory for the voter to maintain secrecy about his/her selection, failing to do which shall disqualify him/her from voting and may amount to legal proceedings. Also, incase the voter upon arrival finds his/her vote to be already cast, he/she can complain against such discrepancy. This shall forfeit the previously casted vote and the original voter shall be entitled to cast his/her vote on a tendered ballot paper, however not on the EVM.

Hope the above stated guidelines help you!

We hope the first time voters successfully cast a legitimate vote – one that is backed up by information and choice and is not a random button pressing futile exercise. As long as you cast an informed vote, you are being a responsible citizen.

Delhi University has around half a million students on its rolls. Delhi has a total of 1.15 crore voters on the electoral rolls. Even if half of the University students are eligible voters, that accounts for roughly 2.8% of the total vote bank of Delhi. Shouldn’t that make the political parties look out for these young voters?

We have been contemplating if the student elections in the university are any way a measure of the upcoming Delhi assembly elections. Well, Congress absolutely would not want this to be the case. Most of the university students are first time voters. The timings, though, have made sure that exams are the buzzword, not elections, in the university campus.

(Also see: Political parties set out to woo voters from Delhi University)

Karan Marwah from Zakir Hussain College says, “My vote would go to Congress, more specifically to Sheila Dikshit, because she has been in power for three terms and no one would know Delhi as well, as she does. Her track record for development has been good, although the law and order problem should have been taken care of through stricter regimes of security”.

Gauri Khanna from Shyam Lal College says, “I would vote for Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Choosing to vote for Congress again would be nothing but stupidity on our part. And as far as AAP is concerned, I think they deserve a fair chance but, I want to go with Narendra Modi’s patry this time”.

Besides, there is no dearth of students supporting the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Most of the students are first time voters. Vishal Upadhaya and Monika Bansal from the College of Vocational Studies are ecstatic about their first vote and they say that that they will vote for AAP as they want to be a part of the change that is so badly needed in the country. The Election Commission together with some NGOs have started campaigns to woo university students to vote on December 4.


With the state elections just around the corner, Delhi University happens to be a stage for political campaigning by different parties. In the university elections itself, many bigwigs come out in support of the students’ wing of their respective parties.

Besides, two of the most prominent politicians of Delhi happen to be DU alumni. The present Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, did her graduation in History Honours from Miranda House and Vijay Goel of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is an alumnus of SRCC, who was also the Delhi University Student Union President in 1977-78. Congress has fielded Ragini Nayak and Amrita Dhawan for the upcoming elections, who have been former DUSU office bearers. Parties have been fielding young leaders to attract young voters.

Let’s have a look at the campaigning activities of major political parties in the University:

Aam Aadmi Party

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the most visible among all the political parties in its campaigning in Delhi University. Arvind Kejriwal visited St. Stephen’s College in August to interact with students. Many students from different colleges have joined AAP and are volunteering for the Delhi Assembly Elections. Yogendra Yadav addressed a rally on 30th October in the University. Recently, MTV VJ Raghu Ram could be seen campaigning for AAP in different colleges of DU and in IIT Delhi. Prashant Bhushan has also addressed students on various occasions.

Adding to this, in the party manifesto released on Wednesday, the party declared that if brought into power, they would open more colleges in the state and roll back the Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP).

Bhartiya Janata Party


BJP has its share of young leaders who have been DUSU office-bearers. Nakul Bharadwaj, popular face of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of BJP, contested elections last year as well. ABVP has organised a bike rally to spread awareness about voting among the youth. ABVP has also initiated a campaign ‘Youth For Change’, to spread voting awareness. The emphasis on the youth is apparent in the campaigning by the party where it promises to open 15 new colleges and one university under the Atal Yuva Mission, if voted into power. They are also promising to exempt all taxes on computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones for college students.


National Students Union of India (NSUI) the students wing of Congress had organised a protest march against Vijay Goel. At least four ex office-bearers of NSUI are fighting elections from Congress ticket in the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections. With the release of the party manifestos, the Congress promises to increase the number of evening colleges across the University, a new university for health sciences and 5 more medical colleges. Besides, the state government had also proposed 90% quota for Delhi students in the state funded colleges of DU in October.

The Election Commission is leaving no stones unturned in roping in the young voters. It has started campaign with many NGOs to rope in the young voters and enrol students of various colleges to vote in the upcoming elections.


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