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Big guns outed by poll code,smaller players raise campaign noise

Campaigning for the Delhi University Students’ Union elections is largely done the tried-and-tested way: meeting the voters and reaching as many classrooms in as many colleges as possible.

Written by Deepu Sebastian Edmond | New Delhi |
September 1, 2009 3:16:46 am

Campaigning for the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections is largely done the tried-and-tested way: meeting the voters and reaching as many classrooms in as many colleges as possible. But buoyed by the disqualification of key candidates from the BJP-backed ABVP and Congress-backed NSUI and with just four days to go,each student organisation is exploring all possibilities for reaching out to the maximum number of students. It’s a tight balancing act,though,for as per the election code of conduct,expenses have to be pegged within Rs 5,000.

“We produce more than 2,000 handwritten pamphlets and 60 posters each day. The numbers have shot up after disqualification of the ABVP and NSUI candidates,and our comrades are working round-the-clock to produce them,” says All India Students’ Association (AISA) general secretary Ravi Rai.

Rai says AISA has stopped relying on the university’s famous “Walls of Democracy” and has posted material on college notice boards because the handwritten posters,prepared painstakingly,are “torn within an hour of posting”.

The Ambedkar Students’ Organisation of India (ASOI),meanwhile,has taken to the tech highway. “I have three teams of friends assisting me in sending SMSes,scraps on Orkut and messages on Facebook,” ASOI vice-presidential candidate Kapil Singh says.

ASOI has also started sending out 12,000 handwritten postcards in English and Hindi,appealing for votes for its three candidates. And in true spirit of vote-bank politics,it has three text-message formats: one for SC/ST students,its core vote-base; one for physically challenged students; and a third for students in the general category.

“Two hundred of our activists got together on Sunday and each was given contact details of 10 students. In 10 minutes,we called up 2,000 students,” ASOI convenor K S Saroha claims.

The ABVP has launched a blog — abvpdusu.blogspot.com — on DUSU elections and NSUI has a feedback area on the elections on its website nsui.in/home.html.

But most candidates have turned their backs on the space offered by the university. Gurmeet Singh,the chief election officer,says: “For the first time,we offered to give candidates space on our website and a spot on community radio,because we felt that expenses could be kept in check that way. Only five candidates submitted their material for the website,of which three have been cleared and will be up on the website by Tuesday.” Only one candidate has submitted an application for a radio spot,Singh says.

1 more disqualified
NSUI’s candidate for joint-secretary Rahul Mathur was disqualified from contesting the DUSU polls on Monday evening for use of printed posters and conducting campaign rallies. Mathur’s disqualification means both NSUI and ABVP have lost three out of four candidates in their panel

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