For the first time in recent years, the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections will be held on a Tuesday — September 12 — and not on a Friday, as has been the tradition. The decision has led to apprehension by student bodies, who are worried about not getting enough time to campaign and say there could be a dip in voter turnout because it follows a weekend.
The final list of candidates will be released on September 6 evening. Parties are, therefore, worried that they would get only two full working days (Thursday and Friday) for campaigning. September 11 (Monday) will be a no-campaign day. Last year’s DU polls recorded only 37 per cent votes. Students’ bodies said since Tuesday will be a holiday on account of the elections, many might club it with the weekend and take an off on Monday, and not turn up for the elections.
“When we had elections on Friday, we got time from Monday to campaign. Now, Saturday is a half day, Sunday is a holiday, and on Monday, we won’t be able to campaign because of the Code of Conduct. So we’ve lost almost three days. It is nearly impossible to cover 70 colleges in two-and-a-half days,” said Neeraj Mishra, NSUI spokesperson.
Kawalpreet Kaur from the AISA said smaller organisations like theirs would face a bigger disadvantage. “Organisations like ours entirely depend on class-to-class campaigns, and to cover so many colleges in two days will be difficult,” Kaur said. The ABVP, which won DU polls over the last three years, said it will campaign for more voting.
Chief Election Officer S B Babbar said, “Admissions are on till August 31, and September 2 is a holiday because of Eid. So we could not have notified the elections before, and after notification 10 days are needed for the full process. It could have been held on September 15, but that would have flouted Lyngdoh Committee’s eight-week restriction. So we had to keep it midweek.”
NSUI seeks poll reforms
The NSUI Thursday submitted a memorandum to the Chief Election Officer of DU, suggesting reforms in the DUSU Elections. Among other things, the organisation has demanded the use of VVPAT machines. (ENS inputs)