The visibility of women candidates in the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections is on the rise, especially from the National Students Union of India (NSUI).
NSUI, the youth wing of the Congress party, claims they are actively encouraging women to enter national politics. And what can be a better platform than DUSU polls.
At least nine women from NSUI are lobbying for a ticket to fight this year’s elections. The last three DUSU presidents have been NSUI women leaders. And many of them have made a smooth transition to national politics.
In 2007, Amrita Dhawan, who was president of DUSU for 2006-07, was given a ticket to fight for MCD polls.
“I lost by only 400 votes. But the fact remains I was given a ticket and all because of my work done as a member of NSUI,” said Dhawan.
“The Advisory Council of NSUI has a policy of giving at least 33 per cent representation to women,” said Anand Pandey, spokesperson, NSUI.
“I became the All India president of NSUI soon after winning DUSU election in 1995-96,” said Alka Lamba, secretary, All India Congress Committee.
“I was given an opportunity at university level. Today I am the youngest AICC secretary,” Lamba said.
“Critics say women candidates win because of their glamour. I ask girls to prove everyone wrong with their work and commitment,” Lamba said.
However, the same rules applied to both men and women candidates, Pandey said. “Both have to have a clean record, they must be socially active and have good communication skills,” he said.
In contrast, opposition students’ group Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) claims it is just ideologically supported by the BJP. Thus women candidates are not directly absorbed into party politics.
“BJP does not support ABVP financially or with muscle power. But if DUSU women leaders want to join the BJP they are welcome,” said Monika Arora, the DUSU president from ABVP during 1993-94.
Arora fought for MLA seat in 2007 and lost by a small margin.
“ABVP has lots of women candidates who have potential. Perhaps better strategy and a curb on financial and muscle power in DUSU elections will give them a better chance at winning,” Arora said.