Imposing jeeps have been replaced by campaigners taking the campus on foot. Hand-painted chart papers have replaced glossy posters and banners and sloganeering campaigners have slipped into oblivion, with docile boys humbly requesting college students for that extra vote.
Till a few years back, the Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) polls would become the talk of the town, with stars from the film industry and the political circuits extending their support.However, the scenario has changed now. With Delhi University's poll code of conduct firmly in place on the basis of Lyngdoh Committee recommendations, those colourful, glossy posters have been replaced by chart-papers painted in red and blue, bearing the candidate's name and ballot number.
Candidates claim that this austerity drive for the DUSU polls has cost them dear.
"This is ridiculous. First we were asked to stop rallying and now the contending candidates cannot be accompanied by more than four people while canvassing. Each candidate has been given just R5000 to meet the expenses," said Rohit Chahal, state secretary, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
With finances being a limitation, campaigners feel that this will turn out be an exercise in futility.
"We have no money to do aggressive campaigning and people don't take hand-made posters seriously. Some part of this exercise has to validate the effort we put in. Why have our wings been clipped this way?" said a campaigner for presidential candidate of National Student's Union Of India (NSUI), Aroon Hooda.
While several candidates are miffed with the changes, the election office maintained that the entire exercise of DUSU elections was not aimed to take on an ostentatious air.
However, over the course of two days, 11 candidates who have flouted the code of conduct have been hauled up the university, which has now slapped a showcause notice on them for having used printed material for canvassing.
"We want to help these candidates and make them spend as little money as possible. But 11 people have violated the code of conduct so far," said CS Dubey, chief election officer, DUSU.