As election fever grips Delhi University, student unions are busy preparing the candidate lists and making big promises in their manifestos. Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections this year, are considered to be politically significant ahead of the Lok Shabha elections in 2019.
Delhi university is one of the biggest and most reputed higher education spaces in India. In recent times, there have been serious issues in the university like changes in the syllabi and seat cuts in several courses for students who come from economically backward or minority communities. This has made access to good education a distant dream for many.
As part of their manifesto for the upcoming elections, Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) has claimed that they do not support 'urban naxals' and caste politics. It is a matter of great concern that rather than talking about the issues of access to education, competent faculty and library facilities on campus, what is listed in the agenda is the right wing rhetoric of the left promoting 'urban naxals' and casteism.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) manifesto said it was committed to spending more than 50 percent of DUSU’s budget on activities related to women and social justice, and that it was committed to putting “Bharat first” in all the work it does. The ABVP has also offered internships for students in 'different ministries and government institutions’.
AISA promised in its manifesto that they would ensure installation of CCTV cameras and police booth to control the violence and provide a peaceful atmosphere in the DU campus if elected.
Speaking with Newsclick, Saimon Farooqui, National Secretary and media in-charge of NSUI said, "There is caste politics in Delhi University and we also have to work within the same system because the majority of the students are Jat and Gujjar. Every student wing does the same thing, nothing new. For violence, left-wing is responsible. Why don't you focus on the positive aspects in our manifesto, do not focus on urban naxals.”
It is well known to everyone that the power ratio in the DUSU has always been dominated by NSUI and ABVP which raises serious questions on the NSUI secretary’s claims. Recently, Kawaljeet Kaur, the president of AISA’s DU unit was allegedly slapped by ABVP supporters and Akashdeep Tripathi, SFI's presidential candidate for DUSU polls was also allegedly attacked by members of the NSUI.
Reacting on the NSUI manifesto, Kawaljeet Kaur said, "This is not the Manifesto of NSUI but of ABVP. Today when all intellectuals are branded us 'Urban naxals', when all dissenters are under immense pressure from the RSS-sponsored hate propaganda, NSUI thinks it is convenient to tag us as 'Urban Naxals' and delegitimise all our criticism for them. What a joke.”
At a time when the students union should talk about college development and to create atmosphere for better education, such manifestos which talk about the brand of student politics, casteism and urban naxalism, are reducing the elections to a mere show of power which can be won over through political bribes.