For the second year in a row, the RSS students’ wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), won the posts of president, vice-president and joint secretary in the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) polls, while the Congress-backed National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) retained its hold on the post of secretary.
However, unlike last year, when ABVP’s Ankiv Baisoya had won the president’s post by a margin of less than 2,000 votes and secured a 35.2% vote share, this year, Akshit Dahiya created a record of sorts with a margin of more than 19,000 votes, amounting to 55.8% vote share. Dahiya got 29,685 votes, ahead of NSUI’s Chetna Tyagi’s 10,646 votes.
“This is a record margin. The last time there was such a massive margin of votes was when our joint secretarial candidate Ashutosh Mathur won by a margin of around 13,000 votes in 2014,” said ABVP national media convenor Monika Chaudhary.
Dahiya dedicated his victory to late finance minister Arun Jaitley, who had served as a DUSU office bearer from ABVP and had won by over 10,000 votes. “This is not my victory, but a victory of all our karyakartas (activists) who worked so hard,” he said.
Counting for elections, held Thursday, began around 10.30 am Friday, and concluded in around five hours. A total of 39.9% students had cast their votes, down by 4% from last year.
At vice-president, ABVP’s Pradeep Tanwar also won comfortably, beating NSUI’s Ankit Bharti by 8,574 votes. At the post of joint secretary, the contest was closer, with ABVP’s Shivangi Kharwal beating NSUI’s Abhishek Chaprana by 2,914 votes.
NSUI’s Ashish Lamba, who celebrated his 24th birthday Friday, won the post of secretary by a margin of 2,053 votes, defeating ABVP’s Yogit Rathi. “Somewhere, ABVP’s ideology has seeped in, which we will work towards removing. We gave a tough fight on the post of joint secretary, and will make sure to do the work promised in our manifesto and win DUSU 4-0 next year,” said Lamba.
NSUI state president Akshay Lakra said, “We welcome the mandate. We did issue-based politics while ABVP indulged in statue-based politics. The fact that Rathi, who was behind the 2017 Ramjas College violence, was defeated means that DU students don’t stand for such behaviour.”
NSUI is the only organisation which has seen a dip in its vote share since last year. While they had got 29.4% votes last year, this year they got 26.88%. ABVP’s vote share last year was 33.02% which has gone up to 40.28% this year.
The Left-wing All India Students’ Association (AISA), which came third in all posts, increased its vote share from last year. “If anti-ABVP forces had come together, we would have defeated ABVP on all posts,” said AISA state president Kawalpreet Kaur. The percentage of NOTA votes increased from 11.9% last year to 12.95% this year.
BJP working president J P Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted congratulatory messages for ABVP. “This is the victory of nationalist ideology among students. ABVP awakens the feeling of patriotism in student life, and works towards realising the vision of a bright future,” Nadda wrote. Shah tweeted, “This victory not only reflects the unwavering resolve of nationalism among the youth of the country but also reflects the new India which is committed to national redevelopment.”