In the first one month whatever impression you can get of your college sticks. Then, the Student Union campaigner promises to provide something even better than what exists. Delhi University has its own enthusiasts of politics. Every August-September the campaigning starts for the posts of the University President, Vice-President, Secretary and Joint-Secretary. Elections are fought at the university and college level.
The first image that is created about these student bodies is through their prepared, powerful speeches which they come and make in the middle of lectures (much to the teacher’s dislike). You’ll see them swearing by the name of Bhagat Singh, promising to bring in well known pop-singers for fests, explaining how they intend to revolutionize the name of your university or spelling out a detailed agenda on the improvement of college infrastructure .
Campaigning is a massive and overwhelming phenomenon. You enter the gate only to be surrounded by slogans of ‘vote for ballot no. 1, 2, 5 etc.’ Flyers and posters crowd the walls and even the very air as party devotees fling leaflets bearing millions of promises over the heads of the thronging students. The doors, walls and blackboards are covered in scribbles and contribute their bit to the campaign, working along with the slogan-beating and posters on the ‘wall of democracy’. Hostellers are compulsorily made to join in the campaigning and voting process. Many friends and relatives also join in to lend their support to the campaigning parties.
Whether a normal student is concerned about the voting process is a valid question. Much to the ire of the party heads the election days are for the most part treated as holidays. Very few people turn up to vote, and of the few that do the majority are still the friends and supporters of the contestants. However a lot of first years tend to turn up out of curiosity. Perhaps a little more effort in interacting and engaging with the students could improve the turnover. In any case the celebration is a grand one, usually involving the playing of a dhol and much dancing.
The student elections are fought keenly and with great enthusiasm. In the past, several of the office bearers of the Delhi University Students Union have gone on to hold public offices in State and Central governments. The elections to DUSU are by direct voting by the students of the University and member colleges. A few contestants are so keen to enter politics in the long-run that they often do a second graduation just to get that break.
This year we hope to see even more work being done by the new Union, a cutback on union brawls and of course even better organization of fests, though last year’s University fest was considered to be pretty near perfect.
In any case all students should make sure to participate in the elections this time around, if only to exercise their right to vote.