Delhi University students cast their votes for the DUSU’s central panel after a gap of almost four years amid heavy police presence and last-ditch efforts by organisations to woo voters.
Voting for the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) concluded late on Friday and the results of all four central panel posts — president, vice-president, secretary and joint secretary — will be announced on Saturday.
The DUSU elections were last held in 2019. The polls could not be held in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 while possible disruptions to the academic calendar prevented their conduct in 2022.
Roads littered with campaign material, political discussions at tea stalls, excited students queueing up to cast their votes — the university was abuzz with activity on Friday as young voters thronged campuses to exercise their franchise.
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The voting process for students of day classes concluded at 1 pm while those in evening classes cast their votes till 7.30 pm.
For many organisations backed by political parties, these polls are a way to gauge the mood of young voters. This year’s elections assume significance as they were held a few months before the Lok Sabha polls.
For the voters, core issues ranged from fee hikes to the lack of affordable accommodations, enhanced security during college fests and menstrual leaves.
Tanupriya, a first-year student of Hansraj College, expressed hope that the students’ leaders will “work tirelessly and improve the campus environment”.
Aastha Verma, another first-year student of Hansraj College, said the outcome of the elections will impact not only the university’s future but also their education.
Vaishali, a fresher from Miranda House, said several changes are needed to enhance the campus experience and added that the students are eagerly waiting for the promises made by students’ leaders to become a reality.
Miranda House student Nikita highlighted the issue of security, especially during college fests.
“On numerous occasions, some women have found themselves in unexpected and alarming situations during these festivities. Incidents like these dampen the students’ mood and also raise concern about their safety,” she said.
The chief election officer is yet to announce the final voter turnout.
The turnout in 2019 — when the elections were last held — was 39.90 per cent. The turnouts in 2018 and 2017 were 44.46 per cent and 42.8 per cent, respectively.
The Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections were last held in 2019. The polls could not be held in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 while possible disruptions to the academic calendar prevented their conduct in 2022.
Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh made a surprise visit to polling stations while voting was underway. Singh took stock of security arrangements at the polling stations and sought information about the situation from election officials.
He visited the polling booths at Hansraj College and Hindu College and also interacted with the students.
Elections at 52 colleges and departments for the central panel were conducted through EVMs while voting for the college union polls was on paper ballot.
The Congress-affiliated NSUI has claimed to have won union elections in 17 colleges (day colleges) while the ABVP said it claimed victory in 34.
Twenty-four candidates are in the fray for the elections.
The RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Congress students’ wing National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), CPI(M)-backed Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and the CPI(ML)-Liberation-linked All India Students’ Association (AISA) fielded candidates for all four central posts.
The ABVP won three of the four seats in the 2019 elections.
The DUSU is the main representative body for most colleges and faculties. Each college also has its own students’ union, elections to which are held annually.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)