A fresh strategy and the decision to hit the ground early helped NSUI make a comeback in Delhi University this year, student leaders and DU faculty said, adding that the next step would be to “keep the peace” on campus.
With a #TakeBackDU campaign and a digital manifesto, the NSUI started campaigning immediately after the election was notified. This, and a controversy over the university cancelling the candidature of its presidential candidate, Rocky Tuseed, who eventually won, worked in its favour, those in the organisation and DU faculty said.
“Before the election process started, the NSUI got down to work and highlighted the misuse of funds within DUSU. These things were important,” said Abhay Kumar, a political science teacher at Daulat Ram College.
Kumar added that the organisation’s campaigning was “low profile” as compared to the ABVP. “The NSUI was known to campaign with lots of pamphlets and cars. This year, across the university, it was the ABVP that was most visible,” said Kumar.
In 2014, the ABVP had won all four posts after a gap of 18 years, and since then, its performance had been consistent.
The organisation refused to see the results as an “anti-ABVP” vote. “It is just time to look back on our election strategy. There have been certain electoral calculations which went wrong. This is not at all a win or loss on ideological lines,” said Saket Bahuguna, ABVP national media convenor.
Students across the campus attributed the loss to ABVP’s “activism” during the Ramjas College violence earlier this year, which had erupted after JNU student Umar Khalid was invited to an event.
“This electoral defeat should send a message to the ABVP that there is a need for course correction,” said a senior teacher, who did not wish to be named. The NSUI said that going forward, it will make the campus a “free space for dialogue, debate and expression”.
The ABVP said it wants to make the campus “clean and safe”, especially for women. They intend to install water coolers and public toilets around the Arts Faculty.