Poll fever grips Delhi University, JNU, voting on Sept 11

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 09, 2015 11:44 IST

Roll back of Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS), upgraded hostel facilities, right to accommodation and strengthened security on campus are among the issues on the agenda of student wings of various political parties that have intensified their campaign in poll-bound Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Voting for the students' union elections will be held on the two campuses on September 11. While the candidates at JNU are preparing for a 'mashal julus' (torchlight march), those at DU are campaigning from college to college.

Polls at both universities have, over the decades, been keenly contested affairs and are considered a stepping stone to mainstream politics.

The poll pattern at JNU, however, differs from that of Delhi University. Besides the routine campaigning, candidates at JNU are also supposed to make speeches about their agenda followed by a round of questions at the "Presidential debate".

The night-long event, which is conducted in the style of the US Presidential debate, is keenly watched and often turns out to be a deciding factor in the elections.

With the nomination process coming to an end, the election authorities at both the universities have sprung into action and are streamlining the arrangements.

"The nomination process concluded last week and we have started making the arrangements for the EVMs. DU is the only Indian university to use electronic voting machines for student elections. We also have Braille ballot papers for visually-impaired voters," DU faculty and the varsity's chief election commissioner, DS Rawat, told PTI.

Videography of polling centres as well as the surrounding areas has also been strengthened this time with a committee in place which will ensure zone-wise recording, the CEC said.

"We have directed installation of more CCTV cameras and commercial videographers will be hired to record the election activities," he added.

On the other hand, at JNU, the voting is conducted through paper ballots with None of the Above (NOTA) option, which is unavailable in DU.

"Last year, we had introduced both NOTA as well as digital voting for visually-impaired students. The computers had an interactive HTML portal which recorded students' choices," said Praveen Thallapelli, the newly-appointed CEC for JNU polls.

"The candidates will be conducting 'mashal julus' tomorrow and we have allocated them areas for their respective marches.

This has been a tradition in JNU elections. The much-awaited presidential debate will be held on September 9," he added.

While the results for the DU Students' Union (DUSU) polls will be declared on September 12, the counting for the JNU Students' Union (JNUSU) elections will take place on September 13.

A total of 22 candidates are in the fray for JNU polls, while 35 are contesting for the four posts of DUSU office bearers.

The DU polls, which has been traditionally dominated by the Congress-affiliated National Students Union of India (NSUI) and the students' wing of BJP, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), is set to witness a triangular contest this time with AAP's CYSS making its debut.

ABVP had swept last year's elections with its candidates clinching all four positions, trouncing NSUI nominees.

On the other hand, the Left-backed All India Students' Association (AISA) had made a clean sweep in JNUSU polls, bagging all the top four positions, including that of the president for the second consecutive year.

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