DU Elections – Wasted Opportunity & Resources

Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) election concluded last week. After the results, NSUI celebrated and ABVP started a blame game. With this ended a month-long process of an election campaign which mainly included loud slogans, defacing public property, disturbance to studies, corruption bribe and much more. Over time DUSU elections have become synonyms for Money, power & caste domination. Election Agenda/ manifesto largely remain out of the picture. Universities elections should be used to allow students to freely engage in politics and bring something new. Instead of university elections are used by national parties to flex muscle and have an influence on youth through campuses. This year was no special one repeating the same stuff apart from the election result. NSUI made a comeback after the last win in 2012.

Stats of DUSU Elections

A DUSU election largely remains a battle between NSUI and ABVP which are student wings of national parties INC and BJP. This year NSUI wins President  & Vice President seats whereas ABVP had to settle with Secretary & Joint secretary seats. ABVP was ruling the DU since 2013 and was at its peak last year. It can be said that ABVP overconfidence took them down.

Rocky Tuseed (NSUI) 16299
Rajat Chodhary (ABVP) 14709
NOTA 5162
Others 18614
Total 54784
NOTA % 9
Winner % 30
Vice President
Kunal Sehrawat (NSUI) 16431
Paarth Rana (ABVP) 16256
NOTA 7684
Others 14168
Total 54539
NOTA % 14
Winner % 30
Mahamedha Nagar (ABVP) 17156
Meenakshi Meena (NSUI) 14532
NOTA 7891
Others 14910
Total 54489
NOTA % 14
Winner % 31
Joint Secretary
Uma Shanker (ABVP) 16691
Avinash Yadav (NSUI) 16349
NOTA 9028
Others 12535
Total 54603
NOTA % 17
Winner % 31

It seems that the disturbance created by ABVP in the session of 2016 was taken by students seriously. But, the interesting things come into picture when one takes a closer look at voting statistics –

  • Voter Turnout this year was a mere 42.8%, well this was high than last year 35%. But this increase is not a good sign because of increase in NOTA Votes.
  • NOTA votes this year has increased from last year, NOTA share is highest for the joint secretary at 16% and the minimum is 9% for president post. For other two it is 14%.
  • Thus students who voted for candidates have decreased in real terms.

Low faith shown by students in DUSU

NSUI dubbed their win as “Saffron Safya” and once again acceptance NSUI/INC ideology by students. On the other hand, ABVP claimed that their vote base remained intact. Both these claims fail when tested by statistics.

  • How can we decide that students have faith in DUSU with just 34% votes for President & below 30% vote share for other posts (Excluding NOTA Votes)?
  • Should we completely ignore the rest 65% voter’s decision either of not voting or choose NOTA?

National voting averages in national and state elections remain around 60% on average. DU voting share should have been higher than national average considering the close proximity to voting booths and more hassle-free procedure. DU students are above the national average in terms of education, awareness about voting importance. Still, such a low voting share clearly shows no faith in DUSU, which should be a concern for all parties of DUSU including the major two – ABVP and DUSU.

A game of Corruption, Money, and Caste

Each year most interesting part of DUSU elections remains the costly cars of presidential and vice presidential candidates. Each year DUSU elections remain full of glamour with playboys waving their hands from BMWs or Audis for votes of students. Throwing parties in college canteen with free lunch, pizza, snacks in the daytime and distributing whisky or beer bottles in college hostels at night.

None of the candidates of ABVP or NSUI had significant past record of either social work or any cultural activities on which their capabilities can be judged. They might have criminal cases against them of eve-teasing, brawling in public or damaging public property. Work background of these candidates hardly matters, what matters is how deep their pockets are and which caste they belong. From past few years candidates who were contestants on the post of president and Vice-president from ABVP or NSUI were from either JAT or GUJJAR or YADAV community. These castes have a strong influence in DU because of large student base from these castes. Also, these caste’s are well known for biased voting and prefer to vote for candidates of their own castes in UP, Bihar state and national elections.

The dominance of these caste candidates in DU hints about such biasedness in DUSU elections also. It might be possible because 60% of the students remain out of voting lacking interest.

Wasted Opportunity

DUSU elections are the largest university elections in the country. DU had given us leaders likes of current finance minister Arun Jaitley and Shashi Tharoor. Its strong academic base, lively atmosphere and importance in national arena make it a huge stage for the development of leaders. What DU says or thinks on an issue always makes highlights in news. Since 2000, DU had not been able to produce any leader of significant potential. New presidents come to campuses a year get lost in the crowd next year. President main tasks remain to conduct annual fests and fresher parties.

There are huge cost and resources involved in conducting these elections both from universities and administration by Police. Currently, all these resources are getting wasted. Also, with such a poor demonstration of politics to college students will further increase their hate and distance from politics. 

National political parties INC/BJP had to lose their influence and control over student parties so that they can work more freely. To have a constructive political environment in DUSU, it has to be made free from power, money or caste dominance.

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