The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) dominated the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections as it won three of the four seats, while the Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) bagged one.
Celebrations broke out outside the counting centre in Kingsway Camp with supporters dancing to ‘dhol’ beats and rose petals being showered on the winners. The winners wearing garlands proceeded to the varsity’s Arts Faculty, from where they will take out a victory march.
ABVP’s Ashwit Dahiya defeated NSUI candidate Chetna Tyagi for the top post by a margin of over 19,000 votes. Pradeep Tanwar and Shivangi Kharwal, both from the ABVP, secured the maximum number of votes for the posts of president, vice-president, and joint secretary, respectively. The lone winner from NSUI was Ashish Lamba, who defeated ABVP’s Yogi Rathee by a margin of 2,053 votes for the post of DUSU secretary.
“ABVP fielded Yogi Rathee who was college president of Ramjas College when the violence took place in 2017. The students have given a clear mandate against violence,” NSUI’s Akshay Lakra said.
The counting began after a delay of almost two hours as opposed to the scheduled timing of 8.30 am as the candidates turned up late.
The candidates demanded that the screens which showed the live counting be made functional after they faced a technical issue. The counting began around 10.30 am. Initially, only one EVM’s votes were being counted but later after all the screens started functioning, counting votes on four electronic voting machines began.
The voting turnout was recorded at 39.90 per cent this year — over four notches down from the last year.
Last year, the election saw a 44.46 per cent voter turnout. Allegations of EVM malfunctioning were made for the polling of four positions of (DUSU). A total of Sixteen candidates competed amongst which four were women, and 52 polling centres were set up.
More than 1.3 lakh students were eligible to cast their vote and a total of 144 EVMs were used for students’ union polls and amongst that, 137 were used for college union polls. Polling began on Thursday. In morning colleges it started at 9.30 am and ended at 1 pm, while in evening colleges it took place at 3 pm and ended at 7.30 pm.
36.69% of voter turnout was recorded across the 43 morning colleges, which is almost four notches down from last year’s figure of 43.8 per cent. In 2017, the overall voting percentage was 42.5 per cent while it was 36.9 per cent in 2016. In last year’s election, the ABVP won three posts while the NSUI won one post.
Uncomfortable and irritating weather, holidays in colleges and disappointment of students with the politics were cited as the reasons for the lower voter turnout. Some student leaders said that as Students were provided with a holiday on the election day i.e. Thursday, they decided not to turn up for the elections and didn’t cast their votes.
Long queues were witnessed to cast votes at Law Faculty, Miranda House and Ramjas College. Almost 400 police personnel were deployed in the North Campus itself to prevent any untoward incident, police said.