Despite intensive campaigning ahead of the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections by student bodies, polling booths saw short queues and hardly any attendance on Friday.
This year, new parties entered the fray — All India Students’ Association (AISA), Students’ Federation of India (SFI) — along with right-wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), and Congress-backed National Students’ Union of India (NSUI).
While polling kick-started at 8.30 am, it failed to generate any excitement among students.
“The manifestos are all the same. There’s no difference and I don’t think anything good comes out of the elections,” Kavita, an SRCC student, said.
In fact, many who voted, were not even aware of the party manifestos. “We are here because our seniors asked us to come here,” a group of first-year students from Kirori Mal College told Newsline.
Poll code violations, including canvassing on college campuses and minor altercations, however, kept police on their toes throughout polling time.
Though campaigning officially ended on Thursday, student activists of ABVP and NSUI were at Hindu College to give a final reminder to voters about their party’s nominees and ballot numbers. In the absence of security inside the college premises, canvassing for votes went unchecked.
However, heavy police presence outside North Campus colleges managed to ward off election time troubles, with police intervening every time an altercation broke out between groups. Stray cases of violence were reported from some evening colleges.
In a bid to poach voters, student organisations also flashed placards and distributed pamphlets outside Vishwavidyalaya Metro station.
Students who attended day colleges, cast their votes between 8.30 am and 12.30 pm and those who attended evening colleges, from 3-7 pm. Poll results are expected to be out on Saturday.
According to poll pundits, the DUSU election has been a political bellwether. Last year, ABVP’s sweep of the polls, ahead of the Delhi Assembly elections was an early indicator of strong anti-incumbency against the Congress-led UPA government.