Kingson Chingakham | 11 SEPTEMBER, 2017
The Bizarre Delhi University Students Union Elections
NEW DELHI: As I walked down the streets of Chhatra Marg, University of Delhi, I can see big swanky SUVs covered with posters and banners all over the vehicles. Big banners of those contesting elections are put on every nook and corner of the University area. Pamphlets and small cards are flown on the streets openly, making it difficult for the Street Cleaners. It definitely does not look like a students union election. It looked more like a state or national level elections. The modesty of student union elections, which used to be truly representative of students voices, is death and replaced by mere show off of money, power and personnel.
We have proudly embraced Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. But if you happen to cross University of Delhi, which is considered as one of the hubs for the best talents, you will only see streets covered with papers like snow. If those who are contesting this elections can not project a good example to the students to keep the campus neat and clean, what can we expect from them after winning the elections? They only see this election as ticket to the national level politics.
Traffics are blocked because of the unruly parking of the big SUVs. Many students are annoyed with such level of dirty politics in the campus (significantly the voter turnout has drastically dropped). The traffic police over there do not even bother to look at the matter because of the involvement of money and muscle power. In usual case, if there is a unruly parking of a vehicle, the MCD officials come and pick the vehicle and files a case. This has not happened in this particular case.If the traffic personnel and the MCD works cleanly without any influence, they can at least register more than 15-20 cases on a daily basis for violation of traffic rules during elections in Delhi University.
The National Green Tribunal has spoken about the misuse of papers and defacing of the public property through pasting of posters and other election related materials. This issue has been lying for years, but the Delhi University officials have failed to formulate any strict election rules. Similarly, this year, they have given plenty of reasons why their hands are tied. We are taught some civic sense right from school onward. Being students of one of the best universities, where have all these civilities gone?- Down the drain. This is the big problem of our education system, where we are taught to score marks only and not to actually learn some message from whatever we learn.
Police and Para military forces are deployed on the campus. This is a precarious case. Ours is not the only country where students play important role in politics. If we look at the universities in the west, we can see peaceful depoliticized elections. Here, in our country, we have police and para military forces inside the premises of the campus. Is it really right to allow police to enter the campus in the name of protection? This is due to the flawed election rules and regulation of the University which has not amended for good reasons.
At the heart of the campus lies Christian Colony, near Patel Chest Institute where students highly depend for photocopy works and other study material related. During the time of elections, most of these small shops that are into designing, printing and photocopies get contract from candidates contesting elections. The owner of one of the shops has revealed that he has got contracts of Rs 3-4 lakhs from few candidates. Now everybody can imagine, how much of paper have been utilized just for the shake of campus level politics. It is just mere waste of money and exercise to keep the campus dirty.
One of the most annoying campaigning mechanism is the way how the candidates and their supporters storm into classrooms without any permission from the teachers (This happens mostly at the Post Graduate level classrooms). There is not even an ounce of discipline followed by the candidates contesting elections and their supporters. It has been a well know fact that most of the supporters are not even the students of Delhi University. They are hired by the candidates and affiliated political parties. This has created an atmosphere of hooliganism. Earlier some colleges did not allow this supporters to enter the campus without proper college Identity Cards. But this year, I have seen cases where a letter of authorization from the affiliated parties are enough to get access into the campus creating chaos. I witnessed a scene at the Ramjas College on September 7, where supporters of rival parties were fighting as these hired mercenaries work mostly to provoke and create trouble for the rival supporters.
Instead of choreographing such campaigns in the campus, it is advisable that the prospective candidates contesting elections engage in healthy debates in various platforms. This will help in discussing the problems faced by students and a deliberation that will bring to a solution. Such a spendthrift electioneering has ruined the chances of Independent candidates in the campus who wants to contest elections. The students union elections should be depoliticized and funding from political parties should be curbed. Election Commission should be brought into the loop and should work in coordination with the university officials for healthy elections in the campus.