There is a shadow of extravagance on the austerity measures adopted for this year's Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) polls.
Issues, sometimes different and sometimes the same, are raised in every election. But what is different is the way respective party candidates are luring students into voting for them.
It all began with free movie tickets and went on to include trips to amusement parks. The sops have now petered down to paper soap and notebooks bearing the party logo and motto.
"We were also given chocolates and asked to vote for the NSUI candidate contesting for the post of secretary. They have been offering us several gifts including movie shows and trips to fancy places We saw the candidate's supporters distributing paper soaps and NSUI notebooks on Thursday," said Amit Behl (name changed), a student of a popular South Campus college.
Last year had seen a massive drop in voter turnout last year, with only 33 per cent students coming out to vote. Parties are now going all out to improve their student connect through such grand gestures.
When asked, most individual candidates claimed that these freebies were being sponsored by their parties. "We have been given very little money this time to campaign for the polls, because of which candidates can't offer much to students. So all this is being organised by the party itself," said an NSUI spokesperson.
So far, 11 candidates have been issued a showcase notice by DU's election office for violating the code of conduct during the canvassing process. However, the election office is still in the process of setting up a panel to look into these irregularities.
"I am well aware of what is happening during canvassing. Distributing such freebies is a violation of the code of conduct. But we do not recognise NSUI or ABVP individually. We are going to forward the issue of these freebies to the panel that we are in the process of setting up. We'll probe the matter as per the procedure and see who is responsible for this," said CS Dubey, chief election officer, DUSU.