DUSU elections: Broken rules, dirty rivalry, dodgy nominees — it’s quite a potboiler

Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi
Sep 07, 2017 07:24 PM IST

The run-up to this year’s Delhi University Students’ Union elections is seeing a particular surge in chaos, violence, and underhand practices — we decode the scene on North and South Campus.

With the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) election date announced (September 10), the Delhi University campus seems to be heaving!

ABVP candidate Maha Medha Nagar during a DUSU campaign.(Sushil Kumar/HT Photo)
ABVP candidate Maha Medha Nagar during a DUSU campaign.(Sushil Kumar/HT Photo)

Friction between the college management and students, rules being broken, suspicious nominations, dirty rivalry and all the bhasad (chaos)... everything that you can expect in a potboiler, it’s all to be found here on the North and South Campus. There’s a lot that’s going haywire, especially at a time when students had been promised better. Here’s the dope on all that’s going wrong in the run-up to the DUSU elections.

The situation in KMC is deteriorating every day

Students of Kirori Mal College (KMC) are facing issues with super seniors (senior students staying an extra year) and outsiders. Political party supporters have been entering the college grounds and creating a ruckus — and threatening students — for quite a while now. The election announcement has not made the situation any better. The aggrieved students feel that KMC administration is to be blamed for not taking any concrete action.

Harshvardhan Garhwal, general secretary of the college’s Students’​ Union, says, “Many outsiders and passouts can be found in the college, and eve-teasing is common, too. This, however, isn’t a new thing. I was manhandled by a group last year, because they wanted pictures with [IAS topper] Tina Dabi onstage. A student was also beaten up and had to be taken to the hospital. Elections haven’t changed that.”

Another student, wishing not to be named, said, “Political rivalry on campus continues through the year. Earlier this year, during our fest, the rivals who had lost were planning in the hostel about how to trash the celebrations. The matter was resolved, thanks to a senior, but that’s just one of the many things that plague the campus.”

Whose mess is this, anyway!

DUSU election posters at South Campus deface a bus stop. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
DUSU election posters at South Campus deface a bus stop. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The Gol Gumbad (monument) near Nizamuddin, walls of the Moolchand flyover, graffiti-covered walls and signboards at North Campus and the markets in South Delhi — all these places have one thing in common: they’ve all been vandalised by DUSU election campaigners. Despite the guidelines issued by the Lyngdoh Committee and Delhi University rules that prevent candidates from littering and vandalising public spaces, the university campuses and places around Delhi are covered in promotional posters, flyers, and graffiti.

About the Lyngdoh Committee

The Lyngdoh Committee was set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2006, under the directive of the Supreme Court of India, and its purpose was to reform students’ union elections, weeding out money and muscle power from student politics.

“It’s saddening that despite the warnings given by the proctor and the Election Commission, these political parties are unaffected,” says Marya Hasan from the No Poster Party, a student initiative that’s cleaning up after the mess created by the candidates. “They’re still using posters, and in many places, they’re misusing the undefined wall of democracy by claiming every other wall as the same. They’re least concerned about what students really want. These parties actually tell us, ‘Humne raat raat bhar lag kar yeh posters lagaye hain aur aapko kya dikkat ho rahi hai ki aap utaar rahe ho?’ These people need to understand that the mess they create will only distance the educated voters from them.”

Dirty rivalry and fistfights among campaigners

Residents of Anand Niketan, South Delhi, witnessed a dirty clash between supporters of political parties last week (Sunday) when they were trying to put up posters near the walls of Ram Lal Anand College. “Both the groups wanted to cover walls with the posters that have names and ballot number and a fight broke out. A few students were badly beaten up, and when bystanders threatened to call the authorities, the supporters fled from the spot,” said Manveer Singh, a resident. Similar spats are also a common thing in the North Campus, something that various student groups have protested against. “Violence is a common thing in the university now and we feel scared to go anywhere near a supporter group. All of us wish for fair and violence-free elections, but these people are relentless. It’s really unsafe during elections anyway, but as a girl, I feel even more unsafe,” says a student of Daulat Ram College, wishing not to be named.

Nomination issues at Hindu College

Procedure for nominations according to Delhi University guidelines

Nominations for the posts of office-bearers will be filed at the office of the Chief Election Officer, who will scrutinise the nominations and put up on the notice board the final list of candidates, after withdrawals, if any.

On Sunday evening, the election nominations from Hindu College were finalised but not without drama! A student, who wished not to be named, told HT that Aditya Dwivedi — previous winners’ choice — got nominated even when he hadn’t attended a single class and only helped in organising the college fest, whereas rivals Brijesh, Ajay Parashar and Firoz Rajput were denied a spot even though they met the nomination criteria. “There was a lot of ruckus in the college and fights broke out. When we questioned why police personnel were present there, and officials armed with guns had to be called, we were told to mind our own business,” our source shared with us. Dwivedi’s nomination was cancelled later. The final list of candidates was prepared by the college’s Chief Election Officer who had reviewed all nominations.

The mystery of Rocky Handsome

Remember the Priyanka Chopra poster that came up last year when Priyanka Chawri (Ballot No 4) was a top candidate? Well, a similar promotional poster was seen at the Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station, only this time it’s ‘Rocky Handsome’. Drawing from the John Abraham film that released some time back, the poster is an indirect way to promote Rocky Tusser, student of MA (Buddhist Studies) who has filed his nomination from the National Students Union of India (NSUI) for the post of president. Promotional posters are a big no-no on campus. While the candidate couldn’t be reached for a comment, an official from NSUI said, “This has not been done by Tusser or the party. We are well aware of the rules and always adhere to them. Just because the opposition sees a worthy candidate, they try to indulge in such things to get the rival’s nomination cancelled.”

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    Aditya Dogra writes on art, culture and campus, for the daily Entertainment & Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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