Most candidates are Jats or Gujjars. There is a Dalit candidate as well.
Caste politics and money power will play a dominant role in the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) polls to be held on 12 September for four posts. A close look at the candidates in fray makes this clear. Out of the total 23 candidates in the poll fray, a majority of them are from two castes—Jat and Gujjar.
Around 1.5 lakh regular DU undergraduate students, from different parts of the country, vote for the DUSU polls and the DU’s proximity to Delhi’s politics makes the polls a talent hunting ground for all national political parties.
A DUSU source said, “Caste-based selection of candidates for the DUSU office bearers’ posts can be clearly seen in the leading names from both the prominent students’ organisations—the Congress-linked National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and the RSS’ students’ wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP)—in the race for tickets. This time, both the ABVP and NSUI have fielded two girl candidates. In order to win votes from Dalit students, the NSUI is pushing a Dalit girl to stand for elections, while the ABVP has bet on a Jat girl.”
NSUI has given ticket to Sunny Chhillar as its DUSU president candidate. Chhillar belongs to Haryana and he is a Jat candidate. The ABVP has fielded Ankiv Basoya against Chhillar; Basoya is a Gujjarcandidate. Both Chhillar and Basoya claim that they have no political background, but sources close to DUSU said that both the candidates have been active in students’ politics.
For the post of vice-president, ABVP has fielded Shakti Singh, resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia, who belongs to a political family and has been given ticket to woo the Poorvanchali students in the university. The NSUI has pitted Leena, a Dalit candidate, against Singh for the vice-president’s post.
For the secretary’s post, ABVP has given ticket to Sudhir Dedha, who is a Gujjar, and his competitor from NSUI is Aakash Choudhary, who is a Jat. For the post of joint-secretary, the ABVP has fielded Jyoti Chaudhary who is a Jat girl, while the NSUI has given ticket to a Yadav candidate, Saurabh Yadav, for the post. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) linked Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) and Left-aligned students’ organisation, All India Students’ Association (AISA), have formed an alliance which has a Gujjar candidate for the president’s post.
Despite the binding guidelines of the Lyngdoh Committee to spend Rs 5,000 or less per candidate, abuse of money power is rampant in the DUSU elections as several loopholes in rules are exploited by all the students’ organisations. The Lyngdoh Committee guidelines of 2006 also prohibit the use of loudspeakers and vehicles for the purpose of campaigning during the DUSU polls, but convoys of poster-pasted SUVs are usually seen during the polls. Last year, the DUSU elections were a direct contest between NSUI and ABVP. Of the four posts, the NSUI had managed to bag the posts of President and Vice-president—which it had last secured in 2012. The ABVP, which had won all four seats in 2015 and three seats in 2016, was left with the Secretary and Joint Secretary posts last year.