This year the high-profile Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) election – which routinely defaces the capital’s walls and public utilities every year with ugly posters – is expected to witness a direct fight between the incumbent Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Aam Aadmi Party’s debutant student wing, the Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS).
Although CYSS is contesting the election for the first time, its student leaders are hopeful. They accept that the direct fight is expected to be between their nascent party and the well-entrenched ABVP, the student’s wing aligned to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
“Our main fight is with the ABVP as the (Congress-affiliated) NSUI (National Students Union of India) is only visible on the posters not among the students. The anti-incumbency factor will work against the ABVP. We are confident about our victory.” CYSS state president Anupam Yadav told IANS.
In previous years, it was a straight fight between the ABVP and the NSUI.
The confidence of the CYSS is reflected in its posters in Hindi that read: “Delhi Chhatra Sangha Ke Chunav, CYSS jeet rahi hai (CYSS will win DUSU elections).”
“The AAP’s scintillating win in the Delhi assembly polls (67 to the 70 seats) will help us. The CYSS and the AAP government will always stand by the students,” Yadav added.
There’s another factor at play.
“Dharmendra Rawat alias Dhammu, who was the force behind ABVP’s win in last year’s DUSU polls, has joined the CYSS this year. This also makes it a strong contender in the DUSU poll,” an ABVP leader told IANS on condition of anonymity.
“The main fight will be between these two outfits,” he added.
Thus, the ABVP might be backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but it is not taking the CYSS lightly. “Although CYSS is a debutant player, we are not taking them lightly. We consider them a powerful opponent,” ABVP candidate Dharampal Yadav said.
Persuaded by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s clean image, there is a definite support base for CYSS in Delhi University.
“Arvind Kejriwal is a very honest leader. He believes in transparent politics. We would like to vote for CYSS as AAP is in power in Delhi and our problems will be taken up in the best manner,” Law Faculty student Pankaj Soni said.
“Last year, I voted for the ABVP but they did nothing for the betterment of the students so this time, I will go with CYSS. The AAP believes in clean politics and that is why it got a huge mandate in Delhi. Certainly, the CYSS has an edge over other parties,” B.Com student Rahul Upadhyay said.
The AAP makes no bones about backing its students’ wing. At a star-studded rock concert it hosted at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium on Tuesday evening, Kejriwal candidly urged Delhi University students to support CYSS for its “honest and clean” politics.
However, despite the promise of clean politics, the guidelines of the Lyngdoh Committee are being violated by almost every students’ group in the DUSU polls. The committee, which was headed by former chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh to clean up the university’s political space, has capped the expenditure per candidate at Rs.5,000, Printed posters are not allowed, neither are students’ groups supposed to paste grafiti all over the campus. The university is supposed to have designated spots for pasting such messages.
Sadly, these recommendations are being observed more in breach than practice.
Six police complaints have been registered so far against candidates and various students’ outfits for defacement of public property.
The CYSS, which claims to distribute only handmade posters and discourage money and muscle power, is also seen to be falling back on expensive printed posters.
CYSS chief Yadav said: “The ABVP and NSUI are bringing big luxury cars to the campus and are also using them to ferry the students, but we are not doing this. We have put up very few posters or hoardings for campaigning.”
The NSUI is also making all-out efforts to maintain its presence in the DUSU polls.
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken and NSUI president Roji John have met Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh and complained against the “AAP’s violation of the Lyngdoh guidelines”.
Delhistate NSUI president Vikas Chikara blamed the CYSS and ABVP for using money as a tool to register their strong presence in the DUSU polls.
“We are not using money or muscle power; CYSS is taking the advantage of the AAP government in Delhi. They (CYSS and ABVP) have booked more than 1,250 sites in Delhi for the advertisements of their candidates. They are using money to attract the students,” Chikara told IANS.