AAP Debuts in Delhi University Elections But is it All Bluster?

AAP’s student wing CYSS competes for the first time in Delhi University’s polls. 

Updated
India
3 min read
CYSS billboard advertisement at Chhatra Marg. (Photo: The Quint/Neha Yadav)

It’s election time at Delhi University and the Aam Aadmi Party and its student wing CYSS has taken North Campus by storm. Their loud and aggressive campaign has added an edge to the traditional ABVP (BJP) vs NSUI (Congress) rivalry.

But how different is the CYSS from the others?

Walls plastered by campaign bills for ABVP and NSUI candidates. (Photo: Neha Yadav/The Quint)
Walls plastered by campaign bills for ABVP and NSUI candidates. (Photo: Neha Yadav/The Quint)

CYSS Releases Un-Manifesto

In a bid to differentiate itself, CYSS has stayed away from releasing a manifesto, unlike the ABVP and NSUI. What it has instead is a charter of demands, provocatively titled ‘Sadda Haq’ (pictured below).



The “charter of demands” released by CYSS. (Photo: Neha Yadav/ The Quint)
The “charter of demands” released by CYSS. (Photo: Neha Yadav/ The Quint)

Free Wi-fi on Campuses?

Not that the CYSS is staying away from promises. It has pledged to provide free Wi-Fi on campuses and student buses, and student discount cards for the metro. Shivam, a CYSS volunteer, says that its USP are its very specific promises, as opposed to the “hollow and vague bluster” of rival parties.

CYSS volunteers at the Vishwa Vidyalaya metro station. (Photo: Neha Yadav/The Quint)
CYSS volunteers at the Vishwa Vidyalaya metro station. (Photo: Neha Yadav/The Quint)

Vimal Chandar Joshi, an M.Com student at the School of Open Learning strongly believes in the party.

The only face of this party is Arvind Kejriwal which is very interesting...CYSS has promised to enable Wi-Fi for the entire university which will be the beginning of a citywide project...If we give them enough time, I am sure they will deliver on their promises.

Aman Singh from Ramjas College is also a supporter.

I feel that CYSS will do some work whereas ABVP and NSUI only boast a lot and waste pamphlets. You must have also heard the crackers they burst just now – these are wrong practices. CYSS is the right team; I have read their manifesto too. Their thinking is right. Their promise to get students a discount on metro travel is good too.

CYSS poster at a bus stop outside Kirori Mal College (KMC). (Screenshot: The Quint)
CYSS poster at a bus stop outside Kirori Mal College (KMC). (Screenshot: The Quint)

CYSS Splurges on Campaign

But the Aam Aadmi Party-funded CYSS has been mired in controversy since the beginning of its campaign. It has been accused of violating a rule that restricts the amount of cash that can be spent on each candidate. ABVP and NSUI volunteers also say CYSS has hired too many advertisement billboards and hoardings.

CYSS billboards outside KMC gate. (Screenshot: The Quint)
CYSS billboards outside KMC gate. (Screenshot: The Quint)

Amit Sehrawat, the NSUI candidate for the post of General Secretary, says candidly that while both ABVP and NSUI violate this limit, CYSS’ spending has been extravagant even by their standards.

When questioned about the unusually large number of billboards, CYSS’ KMC coordinator Harinder Singh says:

The main reason for this is that it is our first time here. We need to raise awareness among students about what CYSS is...also, the limit is on an individual candidate’s expenditure. We have used party funds and are thus not in violation of the rule.

Singh also says out that unlike the other parties which have littered the campus with promotional leaflets and papered every tree, rickshaw, wall, and cars with those, CYSS has only used legally available spaces and handed out flyers.

CYSS KMC co-ordinator, Harindar Singh. (Screenshot: The Quint)
CYSS KMC co-ordinator, Harindar Singh. (Screenshot: The Quint)

‘CYSS is Kejriwal and Kejriwal is CYSS’

Of course, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal is very much the face of the campaign. Harindar Singh proudly proclaims:

CYSS is Arvind Kejriwal. Arvind Kejriwal is AAP. AAP is CYSS.

He adds:

These parties [BJP, Cong] have sacrificed academics for politicking. We are here to study and only student issues should be raised and tackled. Our candidates are not moneyed or influential juggernauts but grassroot workers. For example, Garima Rana, our candidate for the VP post, hails from a very poor family but is academically bright and so she got the ticket.

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