More students came out to vote for the Delhi University Students’ Union elections this year as compared to the last. The voting percentage for 42 morning colleges and departments stood at 43.8% — marginally down from 44% for morning colleges last year. However, an extra college, Keshav Mahavidyalaya, and consequently more students were eligible to vote this time round.
The overall percentage was bumped up thanks to the seven evening colleges, where voting went on till 7 pm. By the end of the day, 44.46% of the students had voted to choose representatives for the posts of president, vice-president, secretary and joint secretary. Close to 2 lakh students cast their vote, officials said. Last year, the overall voting percentage stood at 42.5% — an increase from 36.9% in 2016.
Though some expected voting percentage to rise even further, many attributed the final figure to students’ identity cards not being renewed. Students said they were told they could show their fee slips, but in a few colleges they were turned away. At several individual colleges, voting percentages saw a drop. At Hindu College, when the voting percentage was 65% last year, this year it was 60%.
The lowest voting took place at Laxmibai College, where members of the NSUI also staged a protest alleging that the counting of votes was arbitrarily stopped. In most other colleges, voting percentage hovered around the 50% mark or lower. The election results will be declared on Thursday.
In the DUSU panel, there is a three-cornered fight between the NSUI, the students’ wing of the Congress; the ABVP, the students’ wing of the RSS; and the panel of alliance between AISA and CYSS, the students wing of the Aam Aadmi Party. NSUI claimed they were anticipating a clean sweep in 11 colleges. “The colleges where we lost last year, we have gained back. As counting is still on, we have won in 11 of 42 colleges,” claimed Laraib Ahmed, NSUI media co-ordinator. ABVP claimed they were ahead in 19 colleges.
The election was largely peaceful, except for EVM problems at a few centres. “We were informed that at some polling stations of Law Faculty and Dyal Singh College, there were problems with our ballot numbers. Following a complaint, it was changed. Problems with EVM is a matter of great concern,” said the CYSS spokesperson. Supporters of some organisations were detained by police outside Ramjas College.
For every student organisation, supporters of the parent party stood in large numbers, distributing pamphlets. P N Mishra (50) had come all the way from Seemapuri and stood outside Hindu College with chits of CYSS and AISA panel’s ballot number. “There are people from every constituency who have been sent here to support our candidates. We are very hopeful to win a seat of joint secretary,” said Mishra.