Students gear up for elections

Ankit Sharma, a first year student of Economics in Ramjas College, has been brimming with excitement since the last few days as he is now eligible to vote for the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections. Rewind a few weeks back and Ankit was just not ignorant but had no inkling  as to how to get his voter ID card – a mandatory requirement for any citizen of India to cast votes in assembly and general elections.

Until, one day a pamphlet reading ‘The Power of One –Vote’ caught his attention.  It was about Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) campaign in collaboration with the Election Commission to help DU students in getting registered for the upcoming Delhi Assembly Election.  “In the three-day-long campaign, almost 200 to 250 students registered themselves for the voter ID card,” says Saket Bahuguna, a student of MPhil in Linguistics.

“Considering the fact that not much time is left for the assembly elections, we recently started a campaign to get students registered for the voting. Initially, it was for three days. But very soon we will start the registration process again. Dates are yet to be finalised. Since general elections fall next year, our target is that every DU student should have the authority to vote,” says Saket.

Earlier this week, DUSU had set up its camp in places where maximum flow of students is noticed.  In Faculty of Arts in Kamla Nagar and outside Vishwavidalaya Metro station, volunteers of DUSU were seen addressing students and helping them in filling the forms. “Election officers present in each of these camps guided students and we assisted them,” says Saket, who was responsible for handling the Faculty of Arts camp.

But DUSU did prior preparations before campaigning started in North campus. “We distributed pamphlets before we erected these camps. Our volunteers distributed pamphlets in colleges and hostels. Also, posters were stuck in each and every college so as to facilitate awareness amongst students,” says Saket.

Surprisingly, many interesting things also came into light during the campaign. One was lack of awareness among students. “It is being said that the youth comprise a major proportion of the electorate for the coming election. But the reality is that a large chunk of students don’t hold voter ID cards. Surprisingly, they are not aware about it,” says Rohit Chahal, a senior member of Akhil Bharatiya Yuva Parishad (ABVP), the governing party of DUSU.

He cites the problem faced by outstation students. “Many students who come from different cities are of the opinion that their voter cards cannot be made in Delhi. But it a false conception, all they need to show is a rent agreement, PAN card and birth certificate,” says Rohit.

“Getting a PAN card and birth certificate was not a task but rent agreement was troublesome. Landlords don’t give us rent agreements,” laments Neha Sarin, a DU student, who lives as a paying guest in Kingsway Camp.

“Yes, many students who are staying on a temporary basis in areas  near to DU like Mukherjee Nagar, Kingsway Camp, and Gandhi Nagar faced problems in getting their rent agreement.  This is a serious issue as to why landlords don’t do any paperwork?”

questions Rohit.  “But by this campaign we have apprised students that police verification will also work.  Even a bank passbook with complete address worked for them,” he says.  Do get enrolled in the voters’ list next time if you have missed
out upon the opportunity,
this year.

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