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These provocative questions were printed on a leaflet fluttering on one of the many busy streets near Delhi University.

Kya aap DUSU adhyaksh ka chehra pehchante hai?” (Do you know the face of the DUSU president?) “Kya aapki samasyao se ladne ke liye wo kabhi aage aaye hai?” (Has he ever come to fight for your problems?)

These provocative questions were printed on a leaflet fluttering on one of the many busy streets near Delhi University. In the last four days,girls in traditional salwar-kurtas and boys in crisp white shirts and jeans,some garlanded and some without decorations,have been storming into college premises loud with the intent and content of elections. Campaigning ends today for the Delhi

University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections and the final list of candidates chosen for the posts of DUSU president,vice-president,secretary and joint-secretary will be announced on September 9.

But the run-up to the elections has been bland. Without manifesto posters and photographs of candidates on college walls,the noise and fervour,a trademark of DUSU elections has been missing. It used to be a chaotic affair till the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations were implemented in 2006. Among other restrictions,they banned pasting posters on university walls and limited the spending to Rs 5,000. The move toned down university campaigns and the campus has worn a sober look despite this being the election season.

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Not everyone though wants to keep it passive. Ask National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) member,Leni Jadhav. “We come to the office at around 7 am and after campaigning in different colleges till late evening,have meetings,which usually go on till midnight,” she said. Hopping from one college to the other,swift introductory handshakes,hollering slogans with some standing up on tables in canteens,to announce their nominations— everything has been going on. Social networking sites too are bursting with activity. There has been a flurry of tweets by former students at the university who are now in powerful political positions; even one from cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin. Active Facebook pages like ‘DUSU’ and ‘ABVP Against Corruption’,give prompt updates on the elections.

Roping in attractive female candidates to campaign is an old tactic but works even today. The NSUI team was spotted with last year’s presidential candidate,the peach-complexioned Ragini Nayak who went around introducing current candidates. At the same time,Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s (ABVP) current presidential candidate Neha Singh — an attractive,dusky post-graduate student — took charge of her team.

Everyone agrees that glamour and charm never fail to cast their magic. “Since I am a fresher,I have no idea about this. If a friend supports a party,I am inclined to do the same. But looks also matter. The better-dressed,better-looking one might just get a vote from me,” said Arshi Agarwal,a first-year student of Physics Hons from Ramjas College. ABVP’s Singh agreed too. “Glamour is obviously a factor and if students want to consider it,I’m not too bad-looking,” she said,laughing. “Though that is not enough,” she added quickly.

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Even as the pace of the campaigns progressed through the last week,most students expressed ignorance even indifference towards what was going on. When the characteristic peace of the Law Faculty canteen was disrupted by ABVP supporters a few days back,law students chose to ignore the procession. “They disappear once the elections are over and are a big nuisance. I don’t not have many expectations from them,” remarked Dechen Angmo,a first- year Law student. Tenzin Dechen,a first-year Law student,calmly brushed the elections aside,

“I do not care for the elections let alone have preference for any party,” she said. Fresher Shaifali Mehta,from Ramjas College tried to get in the last word,“My only concern is the two-day holiday during the elections,” she quipped.

First published on: 07-09-2011 at 03:52:01 am
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