The absence of the two big student parties on campus resulted in a dismal 35 per cent turnout for the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) election, down from 39.8 per cent last year.
The two major parties — Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the National Students Union of India (NSUI) — are contesting one post each after the candidature of their nominees for the remaining seats was cancelled by DU authorities for violating code of conduct.
While the usual excitement and last minute canvassing was missing from the campus on Friday, underdogs like the left supported Students Federation of India (SFI) and All India Students Association (AISA) have emerged frontrunners for the presidential post.
The last time the SFI had bagged the DUSU president’s post was way back in 1977. Amitabh Roy Chaudhary was their candidate.
“At least students have come to know about us and we have entered the fray with much support,” said Rekha, an SFI Delhi state committee member, who goes by her first name.
“This will help us increase our cadre base in the university.”
This is also for the first time since 1991 that DUSU will get a president from parties apart from the ABVP and NSUI.
It was the Mandal wave that led to an independent — Rajiv Goswami — winning the post of president that year.
A total of 29 candidates are in fray for the posts of president, vice-president, secretary and joint secretary this year.
Kirti Wadhera of ABVP for vice-president and Arshdeep Kaur of NSUI for secretary are the only candidates from their respective outfits.
Students, however, welcomed the university’s attempt to cleanse student politics.
“It is good the university has disqualified candidates from the NSUI and the ABVP, who always think money can buy them the votes,” said Aanchal Sharma, a student of Hans Raj College.
“Rather than sloganeering and printing glossy posters, candidates should indulge in debates and discuss campus issues,” she said.
With the two major groups fighting against the university authorities, the campaigning was mild as compared to last year.
Around 750 EVMs were used for voting in 50 centres of Delhi University.