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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

JNU vs DU: The two faces of Delhi student politics

Same parties rake up different issues in the Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University student union elections

delhi Updated: Sep 08, 2017 11:34 IST
Prawesh Lama
Prawesh Lama
Hindustan Times
ABVP members during  members at the presidential debate at JNU on Wednesday.
ABVP members during  members at the presidential debate at JNU on Wednesday.(Vipin KUmar /HT PHOTO)

The parties are the same.The polling dates are around the same time – a gap of four days to be exact. JNU goes to polls on Friday and DU on September 12. But ahead of the much-watched student union elections in Delhi University and JNU, most parties have been talking in different tones on the two campuses.

Sample this. When it raises the issue of women’s safety, the RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) talks little differently at both campuses.

At Jawaharlal Nehru University’s presidential debate on Wednesday night, ABVP candidate Nidhi Tripathi asked her opponents how they could talk about women’s safety when they were silent on the contentious issue of triple talaq.

But ‘triple talaq’ found no mention in the ABVP’s manifesto for the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) election.

At DU, the Congress-affiliated National Student’s Union of India (NSUI) talked about the violence at Ramjas College and the alleged misappropriation of funds but in JNU, the presidential candidate Vrishnika Singh spoke about rape convict Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s alleged association with BJP leaders.

Issues such as demonetisation and One Rank One Pension scheme did not even find a mention in the NSUI’s DU manifesto but on Thursday at JNU, Singh targeted the Centre for ‘failing to implement OROP’. She spoke about ex-army man Ram Kishen Grewal, who had committed suicide over non-implementation of the pension scheme.

The All India Students’ Association (AISA) is another major player in both universities. In its DU manifesto, the student outfit focused mostly on issues such as infrastructure, new colleges and the violence at Ramjas.

In contrast, in JNU, Geetika Kumar, the presidential candidate from United Left, which includes the AISA, spoke about Rohingya Muslims.

Geetika started her speech with the alleged ‘genocide’ of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and how the government was allegedly refusing shelter to the refugees who had escaped to India. She also spoke about the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Assam, another issue that found no mention in the party’s DU manifesto.

While the AISA’s DU manifesto did not mention anything about intolerance, ‘love Jihad’ or branding of Muslims as terrorists, its JNU candidate spoke at length on these subjects in her presidential debate.

The ABVP raised the importance of Hindi language in its DU manifesto. “We would try to make post-graduate classes available in Hindi medium and provision for Hindi medium exam writing mode as well,” reads its manifesto.

On Wednesday night, in JNU, the party took a dig at Left parties for allegedly stopping multinational companies -- where English is the unofficial lingua franca – from coming to campus for placements.

First Published: Sep 08, 2017 11:34 IST

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