The Polls at University are scheduled to take place on September 12. Around 1.30 lakh students will be voting out of which 1.15 lakh are undergraduates.
Elections at Delhi University are the most exciting and prestigious polls across the nation. This year polls have acquired a new character and dynamics with Aam Aadmi Party’s student wing Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) teamed up with left-leaning AISA.
In a Joint Press Conference held on August 30th, both the student wings announced their alliance. Left-backed AISA will field their candidates for President and Vice President post, while AAP’s student body will have Secretary and Joint Secretary post.
The AISA-CYSS Alliance at the University level has paved way for many new possibilities in the hottest student battleground. Unlike JNU, the polls at Delhi University are contested keeping in mind the various issues like bribing the voters, using the caste-region card, money-muscle nexus etc. The AISA-CYSS alliance without a doubt will give birth to new dynamics and possibilities in these university polls.
What makes the DU Polls stand out?
a). The ‘Chaudhary-Choudhary Politics’: A Jat candidate will use ‘au’ while a Gujjar will use ‘ou’ in their Chaudhary-Choudhary surnames. Though asking for votes along the caste lines is against the guidelines of Lyndon Committee Recommendations, but, the Gujjar-Jat politics in DU is something which is invincible. ABVP over the years have always had a Gujjar Presidential candidate while Congress-backed NSUI fields a Jat candidate. Like every year, this year too, most of the names making rounds across the campus will be from these two communities.
Delhi is surrounded by Jat and Gujjar villages mostly. Hence, their role becomes essential. Outsiders control most of the college politics and those who form the ‘muscle group’ are from the rural belt of Haryana and the capital. Apart from this, the CYSS who is contesting the Polls after 2015 with an alliance with AISA is likely to play a Dalit card on Joint Secretary post.
b). NOTA – the X Factor: Notably, the voting percentage of NOTA in 2017 was something that has put everyone in Shock. The ‘None of the above option’ was pressed about 5162 times while choosing president candidate, 7689 for vice president post, 7897 for the Secretary and over nine thousand for Joint Secretary (which was more than the votes polled for AISA in the particular post).
The AISA-CYSS alliance is aiming to tap these votes which can make a huge difference in the outcome.
c) The vote swingers: The two most crucial vote banks that every party focuses on are the students from the North East and the visually disabled students. The Former has organised themselves under a NE Society with a President while the latter resides at Seva Kutir Hostel, Kingsway Camp. Both the groups hold around 2500-3000 votes which are very handy in the university polls.
In DUSU, each candidate needs 22-25 thousand votes for a ‘comfortable victory’. These 6,000 approx. votes play a crucial role, and a shift of merely 5-7 votes could change the entire scenario. Apart from this, Society Votes (20-25 per society) are also the ones who are targeted most.
d). Defacement-bribing at large: While the setting at the society is done in the morning, private PGs and hostels become the centre of politics at night. Alcohol, chocolates, movie tickets are distributed in the hostels and PGs with a promise to return the favour as votes. But what made the NGT intervene? Large banners with wannabe DUSU President welcoming freshers, big SUVs at high-speed flouting pamphlets and flooding the campuses.
Recently, High Court while hearing the PIL asked Delhi Police, State and Central Government to act firmly against the defacement done during the University Polls. In an Estimate, a DUSU Candidate using all his money-muscle power spends almost 15-20 lakhs to be visible on every wall of the college. The modest amount to be spent by a candidate is ₹ 5,000 as per the guidelines.
e). Name with a slight misspelling:
As the University gears up for the polls, the entire campus is flouted with names of candidates – not directly asking for votes but registering their presence, with ‘May I Help You’, ‘ Welcome Freshers’ one-liners along with their name and party name. Interestingly in the smartest move, these posters carry the name of the candidates with a slight misspelling to evade the Lyndon Committee Guidelines.
Such electoral malpractices are a gross violation of the Lyngdoh Committee’s guidelines as they prohibit the use of printed campaign materials in university elections.
The University Polls are scheduled for 12th of this month and will answer many questions – including what impact AISA-CYSS alliance will have on the outgoing pattern of elections.