Previous years' fervour and enthusiasm were missing as students at Delhi University started to vote on Friday to elect office-bearers to their union. The walls were free of posters, the campus wore a deserted look and the only people present at every nook and corner were policemen.
The road along the South Campus was closed to traffic. A few students came to vote, while others stood in small groups, carrying handmade banners. There are a number of colleges down the road too. But there was neither any loud shouting of slogans nor any wall defaced with candidates' posters.
For Vinita Mishra, a second-year student in the South Campus, this was a dull election.
"Elections were one of the most awaited events in the Delhi University. But this time, the usual enthusiasm and the eventful prelude to it were missing," she said.
Thirty candidates are fighting for the four big posts -- president, vice president, secretary and joint secretary of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU). Then there are the college representatives. Over 60 colleges of the university participate in the DUSU elections.
The polling for the colleges where classes are held in the mornings started at 8.30 a.m. and will end at 12.30 p.m. For evening colleges, the timings will be 3-7 p.m.
This year's DUSU elections are being held amid controversy over disqualification of several frontline student leaders' candidature for flouting the recommendations of a panel headed by former chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh.
The Delhi High Court had Tuesday dismissed the petition of five candidates, who had challenged their disqualification. The court said the chief election officer had taken the decision in accordance with the rules.
The high court had dismissed the plea of Deepak Negi of the National Students' Union of India (NSUI), Rohit Chahal of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for the president's post; Umesh Tomar (NSUI) for vice-president; Lalit Kumar (ABVP) for secretary and Ashok Khare (ABVP) for joint secretary.
The five candidates had approached the court after they were disqualified by the university's election officer.
Six candidates, including these five, were found spending more money than the fixed amount of Rs.5,000 each, using cars and organising rallies for their election campaigns which was against the recommendations made by a panel headed by Lyngdoh.