Enthusiastic union activists cheered on, students queued up to vote and pamphlets littered the campus as Delhi University went to polls Friday to choose the top members of its student union.
While the campaign officially came to an end two days ago, the unions made their presence felt in many ways, conventional and otherwise. Posters and stickers of various unions took over building walls, students roamed around wearing T-shirts emblazoned with candidates’ names and as some cars whizzed past, their occupants flung pamphlets at potential voters.
The poll code violations continued unabated, despite the presence of police personnel outside the college gates.
The results of the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) polls, which took place after weeks of aggressive campaigning, will be announced on Saturday. The voter turnout from morning colleges remained the same as last year — 42 per cent.
While DU’s0 morning colleges voted between 8.30 am and 12.30 pm, the evening colleges voted between 3 pm and 7 pm. The chief election commissioner for DUSU polls, D S Rawat, claimed that the voting process had been smooth and incident-free.
“Elections were held in 50 colleges with roughly 700 electronic voting machines (EVM). There were no glitches in any of the EVMs and no report of even minor violence was reported to us. It was a smooth election,” he said.
The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) — which have traditionally witnessed a direct fight in DUSU elections — mobilised huge crowds in colleges across DU’s North and South Campus. Near the exits of the Vishwavidyalaya metro station, members of the two unions approached students and handed them slips with their ballot numbers written on it.
Among the many pamphlets of the NSUI and ABVP, some posters of the debutant Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Sangathan (CYSS), the AAP’s student wing, were also visible. AAP leaders were also seen making rounds of off-campus colleges.
“I saw AAP spokesperson Ashutosh and local MLA Vishesh Ravi at the Ayurvedic and Unani Tibbia College at Karol Bagh. They were there, with many AAP supporters and activists campaigning openly. But there were many more NSUI campaigners there,” said a student.
CYSS Vice-president Anmol Panwar, however, claimed that the union had not been upstaged by the NSUI and the ABVP.
“Yes, our slips were not as visible because we didn’t distribute many. Instead, we chose to visit the colleges and campaigned by word of mouth. We were as strong as the other organisations,” he said.
Despite the effort put in by the unions to win over the students, some of them chose not to vote because they were not aware of whether their college was affiliated with DUSU. “I am from Miranda House. I didn’t vote because I thought my college wasn’t affiliated with the DUSU. Had I known that it was affiliated, I would surely have voted,” said Kesha.