NEW DELHI: Although they come from different spectrum of ideologies, all student bodies share similar long-term strategies when it comes to elections for the Delhi University Student Union —to work towards building a "world-class" university, which "fights" for the students’ rights, especially minorities, and ensures women's safety on campus.
The Delhi University's Student Union (DUSU) election is due on September 12 and all student bodies — Congress-backed National Students' Union of India (NSUI), RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the alliance of Aam Aadmi Party's student wing Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) and the All India Students' Association (AISA), have released their manifestos. The CYSS-AISA combine was the first to release it, followed by NSUI and AISA. When analysed, their policies largely converged on the same crucial areas — yet approached differently.
At the forefront, the ideologies of each are reflected in their manifestos. The subtext of nationalism is prominent in ABVP's manifesto where 'B' stands for 'Bharat First' which is in sync with the popular sentiment. The NSUI banks on "Democratic Dialogues". On the other hand, the CYSS-AISA entered into the fray to fight the money and muscle power allegedly used by the ABVP and NSUI.
Among the agendas, the infrastructure remains one of the major focus areas. While NSUI has tapped on to fight for "Institution of Eminence" tag that would get Rs 1000 crores of extra budget for the university, the ABVP demand for the audit of land available to the campus. On the other hand, the CYSS-AISA plans to open Chhatra Clinics in the colleges and the establishment of college theatres, career counselling centres, police booths and sports complex in the campus.
Next on their agenda is women empowerment and safety. It has always been a key point in manifestos and once again been maintained as a prior issue to be addressed by all the contesting political organisations. Installation of sanitary napkins and gender sensitisation are a couple of issues that could be found in each manifesto.
Interestingly, at a time when Dalits were seen agitating for their rights across the country, all the three players have pledged to ensure SC/ST scholarship, which has long been hampered.
The question now arises is how they are different and why should students vote for them?
“There are many things which we have added and are different from other organisations manifestos. ABVP-led DUSU, if comes, it will be committed to spend more than 50 per cent of its budget on activities related to women an social justice. We have planned to organise remedial classes for SC/ST/OBC and economically backward students— one course, one fee for all PG courses. Also, we have released a separate manifesto for sports and this time," said Monika Choudhary, ABVP media convenor.
"We have been involved in protests related to the agendas included in the manifesto. The students are aware about it and they could easily relate to our struggle for the same. We raise the issues and work on them. Issues like the implementation of Rent Control Act and providing ‘Door Service' to the students are some we have considered including," said Sumit Yadav, president of CYSS, Delhi.
"In the past one year, under NSUI the incidents of violence on campus have reduced. The students find it easy to represent their view in the public now, which they were afraid to do so due ABVP. Besides it, none of the organisations has spoken to get the university the 'Institute of Eminence' tag which brings in extra budget for infrastructure. Also, NSUI is the only organisation which has a separate manifesto for women," said Saimon Farooqui, NSUI, National Secretary.