On Friday afternoon, the atmosphere in Hindu College was jubilant. Students danced to the thumping sound of the dhol, burst crackers and coloured each other in gulal. But the celebration had little to do with voting for the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections.
“Our college election also took place today and we are celebrating the win of our chosen candidate. As far as DUSU polls are concerned, they’re too politicised and we were advised by our seniors to stay away,” said Zahra Rashid, a first-year History (Hons) student of Hindu College.
In Ramjas College, a dull silence greeted visitors. In the foyer, a group of students rehearsed a play, far removed from the elections. “There is hardly anyone here today because our own college elections have been postponed. A fight broke out between two groups a few days ago,” said Mohit Verma, a second-year student. Ramjas recorded polling at a dismal 13.34 per cent — the lowest in DU this year.
Across North campus colleges, numbers confirmed a waning interest in the student union elections. “The voter turn out in the morning leg this year was 35.3 per cent as opposed 44 per cent last year,” said DS Rawat, Chief Election Officer, DUSU elections. The counting of votes will be taken up Saturday after which the results will be declared. “The university had deployed a team of observers who visited the 51 centres where polling took place to check violations of code of conduct,” added Rawat.
On Friday, DU was a fortress with police officials posted every 100 metres and barricades diverting traffic at some junctions. Pamphlets were strewn on the roads, and walls were marked with posters of candidates, as were cars and rickshaws. Meena Chanu, a third-year student of Miranda House who hails from Manipur, said, “I haven’t voted because I didn’t want to. It’s a nuisance. Candidates tell us there will be work towards creating better facilities for northeastern students but I have never seen these claims turn to reality.”