Delhi University Elections: Same Empty Promises, Different Year

Another year, and another election in Delhi University. But the students have had enough.

Updated
India
3 min read
ABVP volunteers campaign near Delhi University’s metro station. (Photo: Neha Yadav/The Quint)

For the first time in many years, the Delhi University student elections will be a three-cornered contest with the Aam Aadmi Party’s CYSS taking on the BJP-run ABVP and Congress-run NSUI.

But students believe nothing has changed.

Hostel Accommodation – The Longest Standing Issue

The urgent need to increase hostels in DU has been the oldest and longest standing issue on every party’s agenda, but nothing much has happened. Praveen, a student at the Faculty of Arts, has been on an indefinite strike for almost a month now, protesting for more hostels and rent control. He says:

The Delhi University Act 1922, Section 33 says that everyone will get accommodation. ABVP, NSUI, CYSS, AISA and others have loudly championed this issue in front of students but nobody has made an executable plan yet.


The site of Praveen’s protest at Faculty of Arts. (Photo: The Quint)
The site of Praveen’s protest at Faculty of Arts. (Photo: The Quint)

Shubhra, a student at Hansraj College, organised a public meeting of DU students to talk about the essential-yet-overlooked issues that plague DU and register their disapproval of the flimsy campaign bluster. She says:

These pamphlets only advertise the candidates and completely omit issues like privatisation, lack of accommodation, CBCS.

Shubhra talks about the superficiality of the 2016 DUSU campaign. (Photo: The Quint)
Shubhra talks about the superficiality of the 2016 DUSU campaign. (Photo: The Quint)

Praveen seconds Shubhra and adds:

We also want a 24X7 library, like JNU and some universities in Punjab, and a canteen that’s run on a no-profit, no-loss basis.

Why Students Don’t Vote

Several students expressed a deep dislike of the manner in which this year’s campaigning is being done. Oni, a student at the Law Faculty says:

Look at the behaviour of NSUI and ABVP candidates. They are wearing marigold malas and acting like they have already won. They are shouting and throwing flyers everywhere. It’s off-putting.

The Kirori Mal College entrance. (Photo: Neha Yadav/The Quint)
The Kirori Mal College entrance. (Photo: Neha Yadav/The Quint)

Priya, a student at Hindu College echoed the sentiment:

I don’t like this kind of waste of paper. Anyway, parties like ABVP and NSUI do not have any recognisable ideology behind their campaign. It’s all about money for them. CYSS might have brought about some change but I don’t see any yet.

Chattra Marg. (Photo: Neha Yadav/The Quint)
Chattra Marg. (Photo: Neha Yadav/The Quint)

Aurigno Gupto, an MPhil student at the Faculty of Arts, accused the elections of caste bias:

I don’t vote and don’t even know when the election is. The campaign has only dissuaded me further by turning the campus into a menace. Anyway, these elections are marked with upper caste politics – just look at the surnames of the candidates.

Agendas are conspicuously absent from campaign billboards. (Photo: Neha Yadav/The Quint)
Agendas are conspicuously absent from campaign billboards. (Photo: Neha Yadav/The Quint)

The general feeling in the campus, thus, is one of exasperated annoyance. Students seem to unanimously feel that important issues have been overlooked in favour of showiness and advertising. They think elections are not only useless, but also a menace. Are the parties listening?

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