Delhi University’s (DU) dance of democracy is set to begin in the next few days.
And if initial indicators set the trend, this year, too, it will be done to the tune of rule violations.
Printed posters of prospective candidates from different student parties (NSUI and ABVP) have come up everywhere despite a blanket ban on their use.
The menace is most conspicuous at North Campus where supporters of candidates have defaced the Arts Faculty and property of colleges such as Hindu, Ramjas and Kirori Mal with pamphlets and posters.
With the model code of conduct not in force yet, it means this blatant violation of the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations and defacement of college and university property may go unpunished.
The use of printed material in student union election was banned in 2006 when the Supreme Court accepted the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee. This was enforced by DU’s election office last year. However, no strict action was taken against the violators.
Though the committee’s recommendations limit the election budget to Rs. 5,000 per candidate, a conservative estimate shows that every candidate uses at least 10,000 posters for his/her campaign across colleges. This costs over Rs. 40,000.
The varsity this year goes to poll early next month (September 4) to elect its students’ union office-bearers. The code of conduct will come into force on August 25.
Till then, the poster menace is not the Proctor or Election office’s concern and colleges will only have to endure the problem.
“The posters that you can see in the campus are not of chosen candidates. And so I cannot take any action against them. I have written to the police about this and asked them to book them under the defacement of property act. For the time being it’s really between the police and these students to sort this out,” said Gurmeet Singh, proctor and election officer. Colleges are not happy with this response.
“We have to employ daily wagers to get rid of the mess created by these posters. The university should at least give us a written directive allowing us to lodge a police complaint against such activity,” said Rajendra Prasad, principal, Ramjas College.
“The ban is not justified. DU is not a compact campus like JNU. Posters are the best medium to get the message across to the 52 affiliated colleges,” said Ashutosh Srivastav, state secretary, ABVP.