DUSU polls: Posters, banners with misspelt names dot North Campus
Even though student outfits in the fray for Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) election are yet to name their candidates, posters and banners with the names of likely aspirants spelled in different ways, billboards inviting students to join political groups and SUVs throwing out pamphlets can be seen across the North Campus.
Despite the “democracy walls” — dedicated spaces provided by the administration to paste campaign material — posters and banners of RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Congress’ students wing National Students Union of India (NSUI) have been pasted across the campus. The Delhi Police has already registered 10 cases in the matter under the Delhi Defacement of Public Property Act, 2007, even as there are still 10 days left for the DUSU polling.
The ABVP has already shortlisted the names of seven students. Four of them will be declared as final candidates on Thursday. However, posters and banners having their names, with different spellings, are up on the walls and poles across the campus and outside Vishwavidyalaya Metro station. For instance, the names of Yogit Rathi are spelt as “Yogiit Rathee”, Jaideep Mann as “Jay Deep” and Pradeep Tanwar as “Pardeep” on the posters and banners.
Similarly, poster of NSUI’s likely presidential candidate Ashish Lamba spelt as “Aashish Lamba” have come up at several locations on the North Campus.
Rajeev Gupta, member of the DU’s committee for prevention of defacement act, said the students generally use different spellings on the posters and nomination papers to avoid action for defacing the walls. In previous DUSU elections, the students groups had also used posters with the names and photos of film actors Priyanka Chopra and Arjun Kapoor to promote their candidates, who shared their names with the actors.
“But the Delhi High Court had last year clarified that if the people are able to pronounce or identify the names of candidates then the spelling mistake can be ignored. We will start taking action once the nominations are filed. The Delhi police have already filed cases,” he said.
The members of both ABVP and NSUI distanced themselves from the posters and banners.
ABVP national spokesperson Monica Chawdhary said the organisation has strictly asked their members to use only democracy walls. “These posters and banners are put up by the supporters of our potential candidates and organisation and we have nothing to do with them,” she said.
NSUI’s national secretary Saimon Farooqui also cited the same reason. “Neither the NSUI nor our potential candidates have put up any poster or banner beyond democracy walls. It’s a big election and the NSUI has a lot of supporters who are doing that,” he said.
Earlier, students would add extra letters such as A and E as a prefix in their names while filing nominations so that their names appear on the top of the ballot paper. “The practice was discontinued after the Delhi High Court asked the DU in 2014 to use the same name by which candidates are enrolled,” said a former member of university’s election committee.