DUSU results: Victory for Congress-backed NSUI in top two posts signals a change
Only days after JNU polls were won by the 'United Left', good news has followed swiftly from the Delhi University Students Union poll results.
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In India, two students’ polls draw immense national attention and they happen to be the Delhi University Students Union and the JNU Students Union elections. If the JNU polls were decisively won by the “United Left” only days back, good news has followed swiftly from the DUSU poll results, which have given the liberals, seculars and anti-Hindutva population an occasion to rejoice.
Known to mentor latter-day national level politicians, DUSU polls are taken very seriously by avid political watchers, not only because the connection it has with the country’s youth, but also because it often foreshadows what’s to come in terms of national politics.
It’s precisely because of this reason that the comeback of the Indian National Congress-affiliated NSUI (National Students Union of India) in the DUSU polls calls for us to sit up and take note.
Photo: Press Trust of India
NSUI has won the posts of the president and vice-president of DUSU in a tightly fought poll, while the RSS-backed ABVP – Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad – won the posts of secretary and joint secretary. NSUI’s Rocky Tuseed has bagged the post of the DUSU president, and he takes over from ABVP’s Amit Tanwar, who won last year. Tuseed defeated ABVP’s Rajat Choudhary, while NSUI’s Kumal Sehrawat won the vice-presidency of DUSU.
With 42.8 per cent voter turnout from 51 colleges of Delhi University, it was a battle well fought and well won, given the prestige and money associated with the winning team.
In fact, the ABVP had been having a victory run for four years, since 2013, when it was defeating the NSUI in the bipolar DUSU polls, indicating a strong Modi wave. ABVP has dominated the DUSU polls for the past few years riding the PM’s immense popularity as well as playing up the RSS brand of ultra-nationalism. Hence, this victory by NSUI does indicate a storming of the Bastille, as it were.
NSUI has said: "This mandate shows that students throughout the country have rejected poisonous and divisive ideology of RSS."
A major comeback for us in #DUSU2017, students of DU have given us a huge responsibility to fight for their rights.(1/4)— NSUI (@nsui) September 13, 2017
Also this mandate shows that students throughout the country have rejected the poisonous & divisive ideology of RSS. (3/4)— NSUI (@nsui) September 13, 2017
It is important to note that over the past one year, politics over nationalism and antinationalism had reached a fever pitch, and many liberal students, particularly Gurmehar Kaur, were trolled and abused online by ABVP supporters for their frank views on a tolerant, secular, inclusive India. It’s little wonder then that Kaur and others have tweeted in favour of the election results.
Congratulations to every DU student, you've reclaimed your university back. You've proved violence and hooliganism will not be tolerated!— Gurmehar Kaur (@mehartweets) September 13, 2017
However, NSUI had claimed victory in three posts, including the secretary’s, and is going to contest the poll results in Delhi high court. NSUI claims that BJP/ABVP as well as the HRD ministry has helped manipulate the results of one of the posts.
Meanwhile, celebrations in DU campus have marked the day, with NSUI rejoicing over its sweet victory, even as congratulations are pouring in from the party leaders.
Congress vice-president, who’s in the United States for his “study tour”, has tweeted:
Others such as Shahshi Tharoor, Sachin Pilot, Rajeev Shukla, et al, too have hailed the NSUI victory as the beginning of a new politics in Indian national conversation.
Celebrations at NSUI headquarters https://t.co/iUn5eROVUV— NSUI (@nsui) September 13, 2017
However, there were words of caution from other leaders of opposition, who asked not to read too much into a students’ union poll.
It's a student union election. Well done to the winners but let's not see it as some sort of reflection of national trends. #DUSU— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) September 13, 2017
As India Today reports, controversy had dogged the ABVP stint at DUSU. The RSS-backed student wing had former presidents like Satender Awana, whose “tenure was marked by controversy after he was accused of publicly threatening and beating up faculty members”.
However, DUSU polls also mark the rise of AISA, the radical left student group, which has found supporters among the young scholars, particularly because Gurmehar Kaur herself is part of AISA. The brawl at Ramjas College which followed after a seminar at which JNU scholar Umar Khalid was supposed to speak was cancelled earlier this year, had led to many coming out in open support of Kaur and other feminist students at DU.