The NSUI, Congress student wing, is aiming to expand its base in colleges of Uttarakhand following a humiliating defeat its parent organisation faced in the state poll and amid a surge in the ABVP’s popularity.
“We are working to expand our base in universities and colleges of Uttarakhand by running a membership drive...,” National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) state unit president Shyam Singh Chauhan told HT.
“The aim is to attract youngsters to the ideologies of our students’ wing as well as our parent party on a large scale,” Chauhan said, adding that the drive was receiving “sizeable response”.
The NSUI’s expansion plan, however, is being viewed as an apparent bid to counter the “growing popularity” of the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) among youngsters.
The ABVP holds sway in students’ unions of most of the colleges of the hill state.
“Just like its parent party, the NSUI, too, is fast losing its base among students. Both last year’s student union polls and this year’s assembly election have proved that nationalistic fervour is getting stronger among youngsters and our popularity is growing,” Siddharth Rana, an ABVP leader, said while targeting the NSUI’s expansion plan.
In students’ union elections last year, the ABVP had won most of the polls including those at the DAV (PG) College - the biggest government-aided college in the state.
Besides, the ABVP won elections in colleges at Doiwala, Vikasnagar, Rishikesh, Purola and Srinagar.
The NSUI - which had managed to win presidential elections at the DBS (PG) College in Dehradun and in some other colleges in Pauri, Chamoli and Rudraprayag - refused to accept the assembly results as a benchmark for a party’s popularity among youngsters.
“We will give them (ABVP) a stiff competition this time,” Chauhan said.
Earlier this year, the Congress won 11 seats in the election to the 70-member Uttarakhand assembly.