In large rallies conducted by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in the North and South campuses ahead of the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) polls, the now removed busts of V D Savarkar, Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose were at the centre of addresses by the top leadership.
Among those who addressed the crowd of hundreds of ABVP activists at the Faculty of Arts in North Campus were national joint organising secretary Shriniwas; Delhi state secretary Sidharth Yadav; and north zone joint organising secretary Ajay Thakur.
“Today, ABVP’s Chhatra Garjanan rally in Delhi University is to give a warning to the administration and to those people who want to humiliate the university. I want to ask you all — can an image of Veer Savarkar not be put up in a campus in this country? Can an image of Bhagat Singh not be put up in a campus in this country? Can an image of B R Ambedkar not be put up in a campus in this country?” Shriniwas said.
Members of the outgoing union had put up a pillar with busts of Savarkar, Singh and Bose outside the Arts Faculty last Wednesday, without permission from university authorities, following which NSUI state president Akshay Lakra had blackened Savarkar’s bust and put a garland of shoes around it. Last Friday, the busts were removed by DUSU after ABVP distanced itself from the action.
Shriniwas told students to not accept as leaders “those who call to make the country tukde-tukde, and those who call for azadi from India”.
Potential candidates, on the other hand, kept the thrust on 10 student-centric demands. These include a demand for gynaecologists at college health centres, concession passes for university students for Metro travel, free education for transgender students, construction of new hostels, student representation in the academic council, and an option for supplementary examinations for undergraduate students.
While students likely to contest DUSU polls attempted to maintain focus on these promises, the leadership took a more aggressive approach. “Decide if you are with those who work to unite the country or those who work to divide the country,” said Ajay Thakur, stating that the organisation “works for national issues along with issues of student interest” by placing emphasis on the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
The polls are scheduled for September 12.