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DUSU Elections 2017:The same as every year, but the vibe was different

Unlike the previous couple of years, the DUSU elections this time around were more peaceful, cleaner and shattered the usual image of chaos expected during election time.

delhi Updated: Sep 13, 2017 10:33 IST
Aditya Dogra
Aditya Dogra
Hindustan Times
DUSU Elections,Delhi University,ABVP
Students enter the Campus Law Centre to vote on election day on September 12.(Amal KS/HT Photo)

Infamous for all the pomp and show, litter and occasional violence, the Delhi University Students Union elections (DUSU elections) seemed to have changed this year. On election day (September 12), one found the usual tropes surrounding the elections missing — except for the posters that lined every wall, vehicle and board in the university. This time around, DUSU elections were peaceful, coordinated and a tad bit cleaner than before.

Surprised? So were the fucchas! “I have always known DU elections to be a very different affair. My sister used to study in Ramjas and she used to tell me all the ruckus that used to surround the election day and campaigning. Today, when I came for the first time to vote, I could not relate to most of the things here,” said Aarushi Jain, a first year student of Hans Raj College. “I could see so much security all around, only the ones with ID could enter the area. The police was actively keeping a watch on large groups and were even helping students with directions and more,” she added.

Students at the Campus Law Centre on election day. ( Amal KS/HT Photo )

Another student, Rahul Sharma, said, “After the clash in Ramjas college this year, I was expecting things tobe very different, and that is exactly what happened. Sure the promoters of the candidates still made quite a mess with all the pamphlets, but at least me and my friends felt secure. This is a complete surprise, and I don’t mind that at all.”

On our walk around the North Campus colleges, we also bumped into former DUSU President (2005-2006) Ragini Nayak distributing pamphlets for NSUI candidates. Ragini, a popular face from DUSU, spoke to us about the changing face of DUSU elections, the relevance of student activism and why the paper promotion is a vital part of the elections.

Former DUSU President and the current Congress spokesperson Ragini Nayak distributes NSUI flyers on election day in Delhi University’s North Campus. ( Amal KS/HT Photo )

“A lot has changed since our time. Students are only allowed to contest once now, and that has led to an overall disinterest in politics among the DU students. Earlier, before the Lyngdoh committee put this rule in place. Candidates showed much more interest, so did the students; connect between leaders and students was stronger too. When I stood for the elections initially, I lost, but the next time I did, I won with over 16,000 votes which was a lot for that time. It was a time when candidates could learn from their mistakes, better their strategy and come back stronger,” she said.

Nayak also feels that the recent shift towards paperless elections is great when it comes to the environment, but it she also emphasises on how important the paper is for campaigning. “Candidates got two days to campaign and they were meant to reach over 50 colleges. Paper (pamphlets) are a very important part of canvasing in colleges and they are vital when it comes to reaching most students. Sure, social media and other modes work really well, but when students are handed a pamphlet physically, they feel more connected to their candidate,” she said.
“One could compare DUSU candidates to the central government and the college candidates as the state government. You have more chances of actively interacting with college candidates and thus voting for them feels more personal. DUSU candidates however, might not get a chance to meet everyone, be it campaigning or during their tenure, and thus students need a certain connect to actually be motivated to vote for them.”

Former DUSU President and Congress spokesperson Ragini Nayak poses in front of a graffiti of Rockey Tushir, the leading presidential candidate for NSUI. ( Amal KS/HT Photo )

She also went on to give us her thoughts on students activism and its importance in Delhi University. “Student activism is the lifeline of any university, and is even more important in a large central university like this one (DU). If there is no student activism, there will be no one to stand up for what is in the overall interest of the students. Without such a body, the students will not be able to raise a voice about a certain body or individual bothering them, and neither will they have any hope of seeking any reform. Sure, we need some reforms when it comes to the overall way we deal with activism, but it still is as necessary, probably more now than it ever was,” said Nayak.

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First Published: Sep 12, 2017 19:29 IST