While rallies, slogans and colourful campaigns dominated the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections in previous years, social media and the opportunities it offers seem to be the new reality on campus.
From video profiles of candidates on WhatsApp to campaign songs on SoundCloud, student unions are going all out to send their message across to the over one lakh students in 50 DU colleges. The DUSU elections are scheduled to be held Friday.
“Most students are active on Facebook and Twitter, so it was natural for us to take our campaign online,” said Saket Bahuguna, general secretary, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) has been sharing candidates’ profile videos on WhatsApp, besides using Twitter and Facebook.
The ABVP is also trying to create a buzz on Twitter with trending hashtags. “@ABVPVoice is trending for the past three days. We are the trendsetters of modern #India in real sense #ABVP1144,” stated an ABVP post on Facebook. Not to be left behind, the NSUI has come up with hashtags such as #Reject CBCS, #NSUIforDUSU.
Meanwhile, Left-backed AISA activists said that while social media was important, “paying money to trend on Twitter” was against their ethos.
“For us, DU elections are about issue-based politics. We haven’t created new election pages, but are using social media to generate awareness… We think that is more important than creating false hype…,” said Sunny Kumar from AISA.
The AAP-backed Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) has also been active online. “Whether it was the ‘selfie with the stars’ campaign, or the rock concert, there was an element of social media interaction everywhere,” said Anmol Panwar, vice-president of CYSS, DU.
Meanwhile, the union launched an awareness drive, with volunteers appealing to students on Facebook with the message: “Sixty seconds for a vote.”