The stage is all set for Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections, which is considered to be a stepping stone to entering mainstream politics. All the student wings have declared their candidates for the four crucial posts — president, vice president, secretary and joint secretary. However, the focus is not just on the positions in the union but on the image of the three parent parties. While Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is leaving no stone unturned to maintain its position, National Students Union of India (NSUI) is working hard to regain lost glory. New player Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) is aiming to establish itself as a serious political player and gain a foothold in the university.
The Congress-affiliated NSUI has fielded Pradeep Vijayran for the president’s post. Currently a student of the Faculty of Law, Vijayran has been involved in various activities of NSUI, in particular the campaign against choice-based credit system. “Once elected, student union leaders go out of reach and forget their promises. This is what I want to change. I will always be just a phone call away, be it in the dead of the night or the crack of dawn, I will stand with them (students) and for them,” he says.
Environmental issues are also close to his heart. “I recently launched a campaign called Clean Campus, Green Campus to spread awareness. I intend to carry out this initiative at a greater scale in the future,” says Vijayran whose role model is Jawaharlal Nehru.
This cricket buff believes that it is high time the youth played an active role in politics. “The average age of current parliamentarians is above 55, how can we expect them to understand the aspirations of the youth and frame policies for us? We need to take the onus,” he says.
An ardent follower of Swami Vivekananda, Satinder Awana will contest for the presidential post from ABVP. His key poll agendas are more colleges, hostels, compact north campus and room rent control act for affordable lodgings in nearby areas of the university.
Hailing from a family of politicians, Awana became the vice president in college elections while he was a first year student of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College. “I am confident of a big win as I have been working for students’ issues like FYUP, transportation and pocket-friendly meals and will continue to do so,” he says.
Determined to end money and muscle power in Delhi University, Kuldeep Bidhuri is CYSS’s presidential candidate. Bidhuri, from Madanpur Khadar Village, is a second year BA student from PGDAV College and has served as the college’s student union central councillor.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s unflinching courage to make India a corruption free nation is what inspired Bidhuri to enter politics. “I was never interested in politics but he gave me hope that students from non political background cannot only play an active role in politics but they can make a difference too,” says Bidhuri. He believes that students who are “disappointed and frustrated with NSUI and ABVP” will vote for him. He has been working on issues such as reducing PG rent, more health centres and libraries in the university, clean drinking water etc. Besides working for students’ welfare, Bidhuri wants to realise his long pending dream of becoming an athlete.
Considered by many as the dark horse, All India Students’ Association (AISA) has declared Sheetal Bhopal as its candidate for the presidential post. She is pursuing an MA in political science from Hindu College. “I got interested in politics when I was in Class 9. By the time I was in Class 10, I had already dreamt of becoming the president of India. The need to challenge the status-quo and increasing inequality in terms of opportunities motivated me to join politics,” she says.
Welfare is too big a word for Bhopal from Kullu valley, Himachal Pradesh. “They call it politics, for me it is humanity. I have worked for students — be it organising mock parliaments to inculcate the culture of discussion, reading to visually challenged students or investigating with teams of Janhastakshep, a human rights group in the university,” she says.
Other issues on her agenda include the need of U-special buses, subsidised AC bus passes, metro passes and a gender sensitisation committee. “As per the Supreme Court guidelines, these are mandatory for every institute but have been dysfunctional in our university. Students should vote for me because I am one of them. I understand what it means to sit in a class of 150 students where the teacher cannot address the needs of all and to live in a PG where rent is exorbitant and rules are only applicable to girls,” says Bhopal, a news addict who is passionate about writing, reading and photography.
Candidates for other posts
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP)
Sunny Dedha (vice president)
Anjali Rana (secretary)
Chhattarpal Yadav (joint secretary)
National Students’ Union of India (NSUI)
Prerna Singh (vice president)
Amit Sehrawat (secretary)
Deepak Chaudhary (joint secretary)
Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS)
Garima Rana (vice president)
Rahul Raj Aryan (secretary)
Hitanshi Chauhan (joint secretary)
All India Students’ Association (AISA)
Sudhanshu Shekhar (vice president)
Ravi Kumar (secretary)
Abhinav Kumar (joint secretary)