NEW DELHI: Delhi University (DU) will witness caste politics in its colleges as most of the candidates fielded by two prominent students’ groups—National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and RSS’ students’ wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP)—are either from the Jat or Gujjar communities.

Around 1.5 lakh students in 67 colleges of DU will participate in union elections on 12 September. The names of the candidates have already been announced and the poll campaign through car rallies, open house events, street plays and poster war is on.

The ABVP has fielded Akshit Dahiya for the post of DUSU president, Pradeep Tanwar for the vice-president’s post, Yogit Rathee for the general secretary post and Shivangi Kherwal for the post of joint secretary. It is to be noted that all these candidates, except Kherwal, are from the Jat community.

The NSUI has picked up Chetna Tyagi for its presidential candidate, Ankit Bharti for the vice-president’s post, Ashish Lamba for secretary and Abhishek Chaprana for the joint secretary’s post. Except Bharti, who hails from the SC community, rest of the candidates are from the Jat or Gujjar communities. However, both the communities—Jats and Gujjars—have always been in dominant position in DU students’ union elections.

Bijendra Jha, a DU teacher, told The Sunday Guardian: “Students’ politics in DU has remained a significant place for cultivating the country’s political leadership. The diverse base of student electorates helped in shaping some of the renowned faces of Indian politics like Arun Jaitley, Ajay Maken, Vijay Goel, Alka Lamba, and Anil Jha, but this diverse character of the students’ base has been altered due to the marking and admission system of the university.”

“Changes in students’ social profiles led to the dominance of Jats and Gujjars in DU politics Out of the total 1.4 lakh students in DU, approximately 1,20,000 students are from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

The increasing number of students from this reason has proved to be a vote bank for Jat and Gujjar candidates in DU,” Jha said.

This year, a total of 16 candidates are in the fray for four DUSU posts—president, vice-president, secretary and joint secretary, out of which five are women. The Left-linked All India Students’ Association (AISA) has also announced its candidate. Besides NSUI, AISA has also preferred a woman candidate for the president’s post.

Interestingly, despite the dominant presence in Delhi politics, the students’ group of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)—Chatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS)—has refrained from elections this time. Last year, the CYSS and AISA had formed an alliance, but failed to win any seats. Besides caste, the other factor that plays a major role in DU is money.

Despite the guidelines of the Lyngdoh Committee to spend Rs 5,000 or less, massive abuse of money power is rampant.  The guidelines also prohibit loudspeakers and vehicles for campaigning, but convoys of poster-pasted SUVs have become usual scenes during DUSU polls.

 

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