Delhi University polls - of broken rules and indifferent students

September 7th, 2008 - 1:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) So what if not many students turned up to vote and the elite colleges distanced themselves from it? Blatant flouting of rules, littering of the campus and fist fights made the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections quite a spectacle.Breaking into the National Students Union of India (NSUI) bastion - after they won all the four main posts last year - Nupur Sharma of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was Saturday elected DUSU president after she won 10,345 votes.

The other three posts - that of vice president, secretary and joint secretary - were won by Congress’ NSUI candidates, Manohar Nagar, Amit Chaudhary and Ashish Gehlot, respectively.

Election time in Delhi University (DU) is an elaborate affair. Never mind the students complaining that they hardly get to see the candidates once the polls are over, for that time period the cub politicians leave no stone unturned to promote themselves in style.

So if that means turning up in a Mercedes to campaign, although the Lyngdoh commission, which has framed guidelines for the conduct of student union elections, has banned vehicles in the election process, the candidates do so without a care in the world.

Defending her party members, Amrita Bahari, former DUSU president and a member of the NSUI, said that it was not campaigning but just a “joy ride” that the candidates were taking.

“Our candidates have followed all the rules. And as far as using cars to campaign - which my party members have been blamed for - goes, it was more like a joy ride, a fun thing for a short while that a friend of the candidates had offered,” Bahari told IANS.

Similarly, much against the rules, members of almost all parties, especially the major ones like NSUI and the ABVP, pasted printed posters of their candidates all across the campus.

Ask the candidates and all that they had to offer was a blame game that pasting the printed posters was the handiwork of the opposition parties!

Amid all this, what stands out in the DU elections is the sheer waste of resources and indifference of the students towards the whole process.

“The only people who seemed to have benefited from the election process, besides the candidates themselves, were the garbage collectors,” said Sanjida Singh, a student of Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC).

“A kid who was collecting the strewn over posters the other day told me that unlike other days, he and his mother collected five gunny sacks of paper on an average during the pre-election days! That translated into an earning of Rs.100 or more a day - which is much more than any other day,” she said.

“What sheer wastage of resources!” said a somewhat irritated Sulakshana Sharma, a student of Hindu College.

“Instead of spending, rather wasting, so much money on campaigning, if the candidates had pooled it for the benefit of the students, then probably they would have got more support from us,” she said.

In Sanjida’s and Sulakshana’s statements resonate the collective emotions of the students. Probably this is why just 35 percent of the nearly 300,000 students of the varsity turned up to vote.

“Voter turnout of 40-50 percent is deemed very high during these elections. Generally, it doesn’t go beyond 35-40 percent and this time it was the same case,” Bhanu Sharma, a member of the Students Federation of India (SFI), admitted to IANS on the day of election Friday.

Not just that, elite colleges like the St. Stephens, Convent of Jesus and Mary, Indraprastha and others have distanced themselves from the elections and are not a part of DUSU.

So does all the hullabaloo over winning the various posts in DUSU actually symbolise winning the majority of the students’ favour?

Maybe not, but that doesn’t deter Nupur Sharma of the ABVP who won by a margin of 1,639 votes, or the other candidates from celebrating their success.

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