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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Student turnout drops at DUSU polls; counting and results today

The main parties in the fray are Congress-backed NSUI, RSS-affiliated ABVP and Left-affiliated AISA. The contest is expected to be mainly between the NSUI and the ABVP.

education Updated: Sep 13, 2019 09:07 IST
Fareeha Iftikhar and Kainat Sarfaraz
Fareeha Iftikhar and Kainat Sarfaraz
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
There were around 1.44 lakh registered voters across 52 colleges and departments affiliated to the DU this year.
There were around 1.44 lakh registered voters across 52 colleges and departments affiliated to the DU this year. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
         

Fewer students turned up to vote in the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) election for which polling was held Thursday. The overall polling percentage was recorded at 40%, the chief election officer Ashok Prasad said.

Last year, the overall polling percentage was 44.5% — the highest in the past 11 years.

The counting for the central panel posts will begin at 8.30am Friday and results will be announced by afternoon.

Polling was held in two shifts — 8.30am to 1pm and 3pm to 7.30pm.

There were around 1.44 lakh registered voters across 52 colleges and departments affiliated to the DU this year. The university used 144 electronic voting machines (EVMs) for the polls on Thursday.

Polling began at a slow pace at 8:30am in morning shift colleges and departments. “The turnout remained low throughout the day. The political environment of DU has changed — students are not interested in campus politics as much as they used to be. Had the university not conducted the central panel and colleges’ internal panel elections the same day, the turnout could have been even lower,” DS Rawat, former chief election officer of DU, said.

The main parties in the fray are Congress-backed National Students Union of India (NSUI), RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Left-affiliated All India Students’ Association (AISA). The contest is expected to be mainly between the NSUI and the ABVP.

Students checking their names at a college during elections to Delhi University Students Union, Thursday, September 12, 2019.
Students checking their names at a college during elections to Delhi University Students Union, Thursday, September 12, 2019. ( Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO )

Last year, while the ABVP had won three posts—president, vice-president and joint secretary— of the central panel, NSUI managed to grab one, that of secretary. The results were marred by controversy after the degree of DUSU president elect Ankiv Baisoya was found forged and his admission cancelled by the university.

During the first half of  Thursday, the NSUI claimed that an EVM malfunctioned in south campus’ Aryabhatta College. Former DUSU president and NSUI member Rocky Tushid said the EVM for the post of secretary was not working properly. The college had to replace the machine and polling resumed after 15 minutes.

Despite the low turnout, the mood remained charged throughout the day on both north and south campuses. All parties were spotted distributing pamphlets on campuses and outside Metro stations.

Delhi University students queue up to cast their vote during the Delhi University Students Union elections at Ramjas College, North Campus in New Delhi,  on Thursday, September 12, 2019.
Delhi University students queue up to cast their vote during the Delhi University Students Union elections at Ramjas College, North Campus in New Delhi, on Thursday, September 12, 2019. ( Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO )

Many voters said they chose candidates based on party affiliations and promises made in manifestos.

Abhishek, a third-year Sanskrit (Hons) student at Ramjas College, said he is expecting the next DUSU to push for restarting DU special buses. “Buses are important for students like me who travel for more than a couple of hours every day to reach college,” he said.

First-time voters were excited about the experience. Dipanshu Mangla, a first-year BCom student at Motilal Nehru College (evening), said he came from Gurugram to vote.

“We need better infrastructure and placement cells in our college. My friends and I have voted for the candidate who promised these things, as well as a medical centre .”

Several female students were happy that more women were contesting this year. “We hope that the new DUSU panel will work for women safety and empowerment,” Riya, a first-year law student, said.

First Published: Sep 13, 2019 09:06 IST