DU Beat looks at the results of its exclusive election survey, ‘DU Mandate: The 2019 General Elections’. The results are out and the first part explores the students’ views on the Prime Minister, his Cabinet and the Government performance. 

With a little over 85 per cent DU students hoping to vote for the first-time, this election holds greater significance for the students. While over 72 per cent said they would be voting, the remaining who didn’t plan to vote or weren’t certain about it, mostly explained that their voter ID cards belonged to a different state than Delhi; some others said that they hadn’t had theirs made.

Asked to select the three biggest achievements of the government, there seemed to be a considerable consensus that the government performed best in the field of ‘Foreign Affairs and Diplomacy’ with 69 per cent respondents choosing it as one of their three preferences. Accounting for the overlapping preferences, ‘Defence and National Security’ and ‘Welfare Policies’ followed with 52.7 and 51 per cent votes respectively.

Understandably so, the Government had been able to create its image of being a tough and determined one. The post-Uri and post-Balakot strikes, the Rafale deal despite its controversies, had turned the tide in the government’s favour in terms of defence and national security. The support that India received from the international community after the Pulwama attacks and in its bid to have the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar designated as a global terrorist also served well. Making schemes like ‘Swachh Bharat’, ‘Ujjwala Yojana’ and ‘Jan Dhan Yojana’ some of its hallmark policies, the government seems to have drawn support for attempting to bring grassroot change.

Conversely, in the fields of ‘Economy’, ‘Delivering on Electoral Promises’ and ‘Ensuring Press Freedom’, the government performed worst with 52.7, 36.7 and 32.3 per cent people respectively naming these as one of the three biggest failures of the government. A close fourth was ‘ensuring civil liberties and rights of citizens’.

These failures can be understood in light of the demonetisation exercise along with a faulty GST, which adversely affected the economy, especially in the informal sector. A sharp fall in employment, which reports claimed has hit a 49-year low, was a far cry from the BJP’s promise of providing 2.5 crore jobs per year. Moreover, death threats to and killings of journalists by people considered to be close to the ruling party and its affiliates, the imposition of seditious charges and severe laws like the National Security Act (NSA) on students, activists and journalists and branding many as ‘anti-national’ had been widely criticised. The multiple lynchings severely damaged the status of fundamental rights.

The Prime Minister seems to have attracted diverse opinions on a personal level. Mr. Modi was described by 34 per cent respondents as being ‘strong, bold’, while another 30.5 per cent felt that ‘nation first’ was one of the three best descriptive terms for him. ‘Manipulative and shrewd’ emerged as the third best adjective for the Prime Minister.

Terms that describe Mr Modi the best.
Terms that describe Mr. Modi the best.

This falls in line with the achievements and failures of the government. A reasonable correlation can be drawn between the voted successes in national security and diplomacy and the description of Mr. Modi as being a strong leader who puts the nation first. On the other hand, a similar correlation perhaps exist between high percentage of being ‘communal, divisive’ and the failures in ensuring civil liberties in the light of lynchings, and so does between low pragmatism and failures in the economic sphere.

The Prime Minister’s performance rated on a scale of 1-5
The Prime Minister’s performance rated on a scale of 1-5

When asked to select a maximum of three of the best performing ministers of the union government, a considerable majority of 65.6 per cent chose Sushma Swaraj, the Minister of External Affairs, as one among the three. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, were each selected by 34.7 per cent of the voters. This again substantiates the consensus on defence and foreign affairs being two biggest achievements of the government, as per the survey. Mr. Gadkari had also been hailed as one of the best performing ministers of the government especially because of his work with road-building. He also came to the fore due to speculation that he might emerge as a possible prime ministerial candidate in case of a hung assembly.

The performance of the Council of Ministers.
The performance of the Council of Ministers.

While the rating for the Council of Ministers seems similar to that of the Prime Minister, with both being rated highest at 3 out of 5, the rating for the former tended to concentrate more around the Centre. However, the rating for the Prime Minister drew 13.5 and 16.3 per cent votes at the two extremes of 1 and 5 out of 5 respectively – indicating a much more polarised and divided opinion over Mr. Modi’s personal performance as compared to that of his Council of Ministers who drew less than 10 per cent votes at either extremes of the scale.

The ratings for the overall performance of the government from 1 to 5
The ratings for the overall performance of the government from 1 to 5

Keeping in line with the performance rating of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, the overall performance of the government also was largely considered average, with 27.1 per cent respondents voting it 3 out of 5. However, at a more general level, the ratings of the government tended to be nearer to those of the Prime Minister – for instance, both drew over 12 per cent votes at the extremes.


The general consensus seems to be that the government’s performance was largely mediocre. Marked by gains in spheres of defence, national security and foreign affairs along with fiascos in terms of employment, delivering on poll promises and ensuring press freedom and civil liberties, the government stands at an interesting position. If it managed its external affairs well, the same cannot be said for matters home.

These achievements and failures are being seen in the run-up to the elections as well. The BJP has raised its national security and Pakistan rhetoric to a fever pitch. “Modiji ki sena” (Modi’s army) has come to the fore at the expense of jobs and vikaas. The picture being painted of Mr. Modi isn’t one of a harbinger of change, but that of the only true patriot in a sea of sharks.

Image Credits-

(Feature image) – Hindustan Times

(Graph sources) ‘DU Mandate: The 2019 General Elections’ by DU Beat.

Prateek Pankaj

[email protected]



The All India Students’ Association has released a ‘report card’ on the conditions of the University of Delhi (DU) in four years of the Modi-led government. Culled from a common survey form distributed across various colleges of DU, the report claims that the University has “rejected the Modi government” and that it has “failed”.

In a ceremony attended by President of the DU unit of the All India Student’s Association (AISA) Kawalpreet Kaur, former President of the Delhi University Teacher’s Association (DUTA) Nandita Narain, and almost two hundred AISA members, Ms. Narain unveiled the report along with Ms. Kaur. The survey form which featured questions on the state of hostels on campus, issues of transportation, gender violence, infrastructure development and academic freedom among others was reportedly distributed to 21,456 students. AISA claims in its press release that only 19% (4056) of the respondents had said that they were satisfied with the Modi government.

Ms. Narain raised several issues in her speech such as the cuts in JNU research seats in 2017-18 by the Academic Council, the loan-granting system of Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) and the debate on autonomy and privatisation and the recent assault on Assistant Professor Sanjay Kumar at Mahatma Gandhi Central University. “Wherever you students have any movement or any programme, the teachers will always try to extend their support to you…all for one, and one for all will be our motto. Only then can we save this country,” Ms. Narain added.

Later, members of the AISA also launched a rally across the various colleges of North Campus and entered Ramjas College, Hindu College and the Faculty of Law with heavy sloganeering such as, “Arre Dekho Kaise Jhoom Ke Aya, AISA! AISA!” (See how we come dancing now, AISA! AISA!).

Through an official press release, Kawalpreet Kaur said, “It is clear that DU students believe that this regime has been the worst and should be ousted from both the centre as well as DUSU…We appeal to all anti-ABVP forces to come together to give a strong message against the anti-student Modi government and defeat the ABVP in the DUSU elections.”

A Different Kind of Question  

Priyanka Chawri, former Vice President of DUSU talked to DU Beat about the rally taken out by AISA. In a telephonic conversation, she categorically denied that the ABVP was linked to the BJP and stressed that in many instances, the ABVP has criticised BJP’s policies. Regarding AISA’s jab at gathering “anti-ABVP forces” to “defeat the ABVP”, she said, “The DUSU elections is about the students and the students of DU vote in these elections. So there are no ABVP forces. There are only normal students who will vote for you based on what agenda you have. So I think AISA should work on its agenda and enlighten the students about what they would do if they came to power instead of leading an anti-ABVP campaign.”

“As far as the work of ABVP-led DUSU is concerned, everyone is aware of how ABVP was instrumental in getting the sanitary napkin pad nationwide campaign in process…We have already started our campaign and we are getting very positive and immense support from students,” Ms. Chawri added.

According to several sources, however, the questions in the survey contained statistics that favoured certain kinds of answers. One source at Ramjas College, on the condition of anonymity, said, “The survey put facts before each question. I didn’t have time to go through each number and verify the legitimacy of each question, but it did come to me as a surprise, given AISA’s liberal reputation…that they did not truly cater to the true essence of conducting a survey.” An instance of such questions can be: In the last four years, metro fares have been hiked by 100%, thereby forcing students to pay more than INR 100 per day on transportation. Are you satisfied with this state of transportation facility? (Yes/No). An anonymous source at Miranda House said “The survey sheet had already declared what is right and what is wrong. So, a lot of people had to tick mark only one option. I think they could have raised the issue and left it on the people to judge what was correct.” However, Navneet Khubber, a student at Miranda House, said, “I think that the survey form prompted the respondents towards a certain direction but I think that the questions were well-chosen.”

Another source said, “Even if I could clearly see the questions in their questionnaire leading to certain conclusions, I don’t think those conclusions were based on wrong principles. Since the purpose of this survey, unlike an academic survey, is not neutral, it wanting you to arrive at certain conclusions is not essentially problematic in itself. Also, AISA is doing amazing work in the case of metro passes which the ABVP is trying to pass off as their own work.”A few other sources also mentioned how they could not relate to questions regarding transportation and infrastructure since the levels of such costs differed widely across the student community of the University.

AISA’s questionnaire, therefore, seemed to have raised a lot more questions than answers and these answers need to be sought in the future.


Feature Image Credits: Adithya Khanna

Sara Sohail

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