Of poll promises and hectic politicking

Of poll promises and hectic politicking

The bugle for the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) election, slated to be held on September 12 has been blown. Students’ wing of major political parties have taken the dais to talk about issues like cheap hostel accommodation, opening of new colleges, concessional passes for students commuting via Metro, gender sensitisation and safety of Northeasterners.

Since the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), is in power, after winning three seats in last year’s election, they are confident of sweeping all the four seats this time. Whereas the Left wing considers it as a direct fight with right wing as, according to them, National Student Union of India (NSUI), the student arm of Congress, is not even in the competition!

There is no end to speculations. And the recently held press conference of the NSUI echoed with the by-election results of Bihar where Congress in coalition with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (U) bagged six of the 10 seats in the election.

“This is the beginning of the anti-Modi wave,” says Roji N Joseph, national president of NSUI. “The Modi Government has been in power for three months now and the bypoll result is a clear indication that they have failed to stand up to the expectations,” he says, pointing towards the youth who voted for the
saffron party in the General Election.

“Youth supporting the party (BJP) were left in a disgruntled state, especially after the UPSC row over scrapping of Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT). Students were on the streets and they were beaten. It was our party which took the issue to the forefront,” Joseph told Metrolife. He is hopeful that the party’s effort towards you­th-related issues will work in their favour in DUSU election.

However, the party ruling DUSU – student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party – in order to instil confidence among students while campaigning, is taking the credit for the scrapping of the controversial four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP).

“We vociferously protested against the FYUP, we were lathicharged and were thrown into jail,” says Rohil Chahal, secretary, ABVP.  

But the Left’s All India Student’s Association (AISA) rubbishes ABVP’s tall claims. “They are ruling in Centre so it was not a tough task for them to get FYUP removed. They are thinking that they can easily lure students with their FYUP gimmick,” says Anmol, state president, AISA.  

To prove his point, he hints towards the poll promises of ABVP. “They have copied our agenda from our pamphlets and, surprisingly, they haven’t changed the serial number,” says Anmol sarcastically.  

“They are promising to provide hostel accommodation to outstation students. Why did they fail to do anything related to the issue in their one-year period? At least they should have done something related to Room Rent Regulation Act, so that private accommodation could have become cheaper,” says Anmol.
Even Karishma Thakur, an NSUI candidate and also secretary, DUSU, repeats similar lines saying, the president and the vice-president hardly visited the DUSU office in the last one year.

Expectedly, Chahal dismisses all the allegations made against ABVP. Taking potshots at NSUI, he says, “Before Modi Government, Congress was in power for 10 years and even NSUI ruled DUSU then, why didn’t they address the problems?”

Taking a tough stance, he says, “NSUI is not in the race but we still consider our fight with them in the election.”

Anmol too agrees that the election, this year, is between the right wing and the left wing NSUI is nowhere! Bhaskaranand, president, All India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO), says, “Every party is highlighting the same issue. They are holding demonstrations but none of the parties are concerned about the education policy under which all these issues fall.”

Notably, AIDSO in alliance with Students Federation of India (SFI) and Democratic Students’ Union have together filed the nomination for election as Left Students’ Front.

As political parties attack and counter-attack each other ahead of DUSU elections, students hope the winning party will solve their major problem of accommodation.