JNUSU Polls: Under the Sway of the Dhol, A Tight Contest

It’s the debates, the tussle and old-fashioned student politics which is the crux of the JNU experience.

Updated
India
2 min read

With polling coming to an end in the student union election of Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the only sounds to be heard were that of the dholaks and the thrum of dancing.

Like in most universities in the country, JNU abides by its traditions. After a tiring bout of sloganeering, music and dance, students dispersed around the gigantic-and-graffitied campus – as if on cue. For a few hours, between six and nine in the evening, the campus wore a desolate look.

For a few hours between six and nine in the evening, the campus wore a desolate look.
For a few hours between six and nine in the evening, the campus wore a desolate look.
(Photo: The Quint)

On asking a group of students about the sudden quiet atmosphere, an amused reply, "Abhi 10 baje hogi counting. Then people will come, dance, sing and talk. It will last all night – maybe even two days".

The most anticipated event on campus, the JNUSU elections have been marked by a tight contest among the presidential candidates and a conflict over ABVP’s Ankit Roy’s nomination – one of the accused in assaulting missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed.

As night falls over the university, the voter turnout is recorded at nearly 58 percent. But in JNU, the real excitement begins after polling.

Campaign pamphlets strewn across the JNU campus.
Campaign pamphlets strewn across the JNU campus.
(Photo: The Quint)

In a shamiana, reminiscent of a Delhi wedding, a few students lounge around for counting to begin. Their dhols wait by their side.

Among a stream of steady gossip and predictions, a hiss of the kettle is heard. A line of stalls sell chai, bread omelet, chowmein and of course, momos.

The only consistent sound to be heard were of the dholaks and the thrum of dancing.
The only consistent sound to be heard were of the dholaks and the thrum of dancing.
(Photo: The Quint)

In the contest for President, while the Left parties on campus have come together to form an alliance backing Geeta Kumari, it's possible that Independent candidate Farooque Alam may change the rules of the game.

Standing under a white tent, as students of different political affiliation laugh with each other, it almost feels as if the JNUSU election is not really about who wins and loses. It’s the debates, the tussle, the conspiracies and old fashioned student politics which is centerstage – the crux of the JNU experience.

As anticipation for the night-long counting process begins with a clearing of throats and a nervous clatter of the dhols, it's almost as if the journey to a new elected Union is the reward.

After all, this is JNU.

Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

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