With little more than two weeks to go for the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections on September 9, the campus looks very different from what it used to look like during the election season previously. This time around, there are no glamorous posters of various candidates welcoming the freshers or even asking students to vote for them.
With the nominations of many candidates being cancelled for flouting the Lyngdoh Committee’s recommendations last year, parties are playing it safe this year. “Last year, we still got some requests for photo shoots, but not a single prospective DUSU member has come to us for a shoot this year. We used to have special arrangements for profile shoots of candidates during DUSU elections. A single profile shoot would be done for Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,500,” says Umesh Sabharwal of Prem Studio, which is popular for clicking portfolios of candidates for posters.
Leave apart professional posters, this year, even handmade posters haven’t made it to Delhi University. “There is no noise around the elections. Earlier, the DUSU election fever would grip the campus months in advance especially because of all the colourful posters around. But, this time all the parties are playing safe in light of the ban on posters. Till last year, at least the hand-painted posters could be seen, but even that is missing this year, as everybody is scared of their candidature getting rejected. So, all the parties are waiting for each other to start putting up handmade posters,” says Rohit Chahal, State Secretary ABVP Delhi.
Since DUSU elections have always been associated with glamour, absence of these posters means even more hard work for the candidates. “Beauty is a major factor in DUSU elections, especially for first year students. When the freshers see a pretty face, they would want to vote for that candidate. So, the posters make it easier for the candidates to attract votes. But that factor is missing this year. So, the candidates have been making an effort to go to all the colleges and meet the students in the pre-election campaign,” says Basant Jha, presidential advisor, DUSU. “But I still feel that the pretty faces will win, as parties will ensure that the glamorous candidates go and meet the students,” he adds.
What Lyngdoh Committee says: The Lyngdoh Committee has laid out some rules to regulate the students’ union elections. The code of conduct prescribed by the committee for DUSU elections includes the ban on putting up printed posters by any party and expense of fighting the election should not exceed Rs. 5,000. The committee only allows handmade posters, which have to be put up at the designated place. Those found flouting these rules are not allowed to contest the election.