The administration of the University of Delhi (DU), on the 3rd September, has decided to make voting in the upcoming Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections mandatory for all students in colleges affiliated to the
The official announcement was made by the Dean of Student Welfare of DU, Dr. Surabhi, in a press conference held on Tuesday. In conversation with DU Beat, she said, “Those who don’t vote in the elections will not be give attendance for the rest of the academic year.” This decision has come at the wake of a mere43% voter turnout in last year’s DUSU elections. To differentiate between students who vote and those who do not, the left hand index finger of every student will be marked with black ink when they come to cast their vote. For the rest of the academic year, their attendance in class will not be registered if they do not get the electoral stain on their index finger on the day of polling.
This decision has been met with mixed reactions from the student and teacher community of DU. Sandeep Samal,
the presidential candidate of the Akhil Bharatiya Unnati Parishad (ABUP), told DU Beat, “This is a strong step to fight the belief that your vote does not matter, especially for those who wish to make a change.” On the other hand, this has been considered a gross manipulation of students’ concerns by many. A group of more than 60 students sat down in dharna against this decision in front of the DUSU office at North Campus, on 4th September. A student protester said, “The DU administration is playing a distasteful game with us. They know that attendance is an elementary need for survival in the University. If we do not have 67% attendance, we will not be allowed to sit for our semester examinations. They have, thus, targeted us at our weakest link.”
Professor Karan Singhania of the Faculty of Arts, who lent support to the protesters, remarked, “I understand that voting is important to maintain a healthy political environment in the varsity. However, how can you force the students to exercise this right when there are no politically healthy contenders to represent them?” While voting in the elections is imperative to retain the democratic spirit of student politics in the varsity, is compelling the students to vote by keeping their attendance at stake a democratic policy? This remains a bone of contention between the administration and the student community of DU today. To momentarily pacify the naysayers, the Dean of Student Welfare has decided to hold a high-level meeting of the Executive Council on 7th September.
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Feature Image Credits: India T.V.
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak