In a first-of-its-kind effort, a presidential debate was organised at Delhi University for candidates fighting the DUSU elections.
An ambitious effort aimed to help students gauge the strengths of the various candidates, the debate managed to pull only candidates from three student parties and a handful of students.
Ironically, ruling party National Students Union of India (NSUI) candidate Sonia Sapra gave in to a case of nerves and did not participate and took a long time to come.
The debate was organised in open air on the premises of Arts Faculty, North Campus. A makeshift dais was created and chairs laid down for students to question the candidates on their manifestoes and aspirations.
“The debate was supposed to start at 1 pm and it’s already 3 pm. Student leaders are behaving like true politicians,” said Amarjeet, one of the few bystanders interested in the debate.
The debate began with AISA candidate Nihit Saigal, the first to arrive for the debate.
“DUSU elections have become all about posters and faces. Rather than raising common issues, NSUI led DUSU has just talked about hostel facilities for years now,” said Saigal.
He added that students faced exploitation from landlords, who charged arbitrary sums as rent.
Next in line was Sachin Gupta of the Nationalist Student Congress, the youth wing of the Nationalist Congress Party. But Gupta meekly introduced himself and refused to speak further.
Last was Nupur Sharma of the ABVP. Sharma began by questioning why her biggest rival Sonia Sapra of the NSUI had not participated. But all hell broke lose when AISA members cross-questioned Sharma on her claims that ABVP was a non-violent party.
ABVP members got down to sloganeering and shouting.