NEW DELHI: The Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) elections may be cancelled this year because of the COVID-19. According to university sources, the current office-bearers will continue in their posts in the academic year 2020-21, too.
“The schedule for student elections in every central university is decided on the basis of admission schedule. This year, admissions for the undergraduate and the postgraduate courses have seen an unprecedented delay because of coronavirus. The admissions which were expected to end by October will now go on till November 18,” said an official.
The delay in academic calendar has had a cascading effect, sources said. The classes for second and third years have started and by the time the classes will begin for the first semester students (fresh batch), exams will start for the second and final years’ students in December.
This has brought the DUSU polls under a cloud. As per the Lyngdoh Committee set up in 2006, student union elections should be conducted within six to seven weeks after admissions.
“Even the newly admitted students will study online. Unlike other universities, DU student elections are much hyped and lakhs of students participate in campaigning and voting. I don’t think the varsity will risk the students,” said Pankaj Garg, a Rajdhani College professor and former Academic Council (AC) member.
Another teacher said a few colleges that do not come under DUSU, such as Lady Irwin College, has conducted student council elections online.
“But in DUSU’s case, digital option is impossible as lakhs of students participate. Plus, most of them have gone to their hometown. Although, any official announcement has not made yet, but this year it will not happen.”
Student outfits in favour of holding DUSU polls
Rajiv Gupta, Dean, Students Welfare, and DUSU advisor DK Singh, refused to comment on the matter. The student outfits, however, are in favour of holding the elections. NSUI national secretary and in-charge media and communication, Lokesh Chugh, said, “The DUSU elections should be conducted this year and NSUI is confident to fight the elections even amid the pandemic. Unlike ABVP, AISA and SFI, the NSUI has raised various student related issues from day one, be it promotion of first and second semester students, cancellation of fees, online examinations or so on. We sat on an indefinite strike protesting against the online examinations. If the varsity allows, we are confident of fighting the elections in the pandemic while observing all Covid-19 protocols.”
DUSU president Akshit Dahiya, who belongs to ABVP, said, “The process of holding student elections ever year gives an opportunity to the new student representatives to learn politics and activism. But viewing the spike in Covid case, the safety of the students comes first. The elections must be conducted in the varsity.”
This is not the first time that the DUSU elections are not happening. In 1991, the polls were cancelled and office bearers were repeated because of the raging protests over the Mandal Commission report.
The annual fests of various colleges and Inter- College Sports Tournament are also likely to be cancelled this year. Last year, the student polls were conducted on September 12 and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad won three seats while Congress-backed National Student Union of India bagged one post.
1971: Direct elections for DUSU started
1956-1971: Indirect elections 49+: No of colleges that participate
2 lakh (approx): No of students who participate