Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU)
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Litter: posters, ugly campaign graffiti
During the times of election, every available space on the campus is taken up by posters and ugly campaign graffiti. Both the JM Lyngdoh Commission on student politics, in 2006, and the National Green Tribunal, since 2015, have urged the university to opt for paperless electioneering.But 10 days before polling day , one easily sees that the DUSU poll is not only among the biggest in student union balloting, but also among the ugliest.
The problem is that despite the restrictions placed by the Lyngdoh panel and NGT, neither the election committee nor the university administration goes beyond the “ritualistic“ threat of action against violators. This is starkly clear from the pictures TOIhas pulled out from its archives that show the huge volume of paper -printed posters, pamphlets, mailers -used in campaigning from 2011 to 2016, not only on the campus but across the city .
And while the DUSU election panel gave the contending parties a 36-hour ultimatum on August 30 to clean the walls defaced in the campaign, printed paper continues to blight the walls around the university .
There is a backlash of sorts, with students, particularly from Ram Lal Anand and Kirori Mal colleges, declaring they would not to vote for any student organisation that littered their campuses. At Miranda House, too, students chanted, “No paper wastage, no pizzas, no Lakme kajal. If the roads are mucked up by your posters, we will not vote for you.“
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, while assuring a check on paper usage, however, maintained that paperless canvassing was not possible.Saket Bahuguna, national media coordinator, ABVP , said: “We had suggested creating a wall of democracy where posters could be legally pasted, but this did not happen. We have to approach 1.4 lakh students and have an impractical limit of Rs 5,000 as electoral expense per candidate. Under these conditions, posters and pamphlets are the only option.“
Advising the election committee to call an all-party meeting on the matter, given that the Congress-affiliated National Students' Union of India and other student organisations were also against the massive wastage of paper, Bahuguna added, “In future, there has to be some form of digital intervention.“
NSUI itself blames ABVP for plastering the city with posters for its candidates and pleads that since people vote for names that have recall and recognition, there is little the others can do differently . Ruchi Gupta, national spokesperson, NSUI, claimed, “We haven't carried out postering in institutions because we have a very active social media team.“
Gupta talked of a level-playing field for all contestants so as not to handicap some, alleging that ABVP candidates put up posters long before the election schedule was notified. “The rules of the game has to be equally applied and the DU administration should have come down heavily on ABVP .“
2017: ‘76 sites faced irreparable damage during polls’
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) told the high court that 76 of its sites suffered irretrievable damage due to defacement by students during Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections.
In a report filed in court DMRC estimated that it will take six months and Rs 17 lakh to restore the defaced properties, and urged the court to get the student leaders pay for their offence of defacing public property.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said all students must coordinate with the concerned authorities to propose designs with a view to beautify the properties while restoring their aesthetic value. The bench also indicated that it may later impose fines on the students involved in defacement, if required.
Appearing for DMRC, advocate Pushkar Sood submitted the report which noted that defaced properties include walls of metro stations, metro pillars and other structures, which had finishing of stone cladding, grit wash, paint and texture paints. “It has been found that the only way to remove the defacement would be by way of redoing the requisite finishing,” the report said.
Meanwhile, the bench also issued bailable warrants against more than 15 student candidates who failed to appear in court despite prior notice. The court directed SHO Maurice Nagar to serve warrants on the students who had contested the DUSU elections and have failed to appear in court despite repeated notices being served on them. HC’s directions came while hearing a PIL on defacement of public properties filed by advocate Prashant Manchanda.
In penance, DU pupils to restore Metro scarred stations
The Metro will throw open 11 of its stations to Delhi University students for beautification and renovation after they were defaced by graffiti during university student elections.
The decision follows an unusual meeting hosted by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on its premises on Friday. In attendance were the president and vice-president of Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) and other student leaders — all of them facing heat from the high court for defacing public property — teachers, lawyers and Metro officials.
The court, acting on a PIL filed by advocate Prashant Manchanda, is also monitoring steps taken by civic agencies and DMRC to prosecute the offenders and renovate premises/properties damaged during the polls.
“We don’t need a paint job, … rather, we encourage you to rope in budding student artists to participate and contribute in this public service,” a DMRC official told DUSU president Rocky Tuseed.
DMRC identifies stations that require beautification
Apart from Vishwavidyalaya station, which is one of the worst hit from graffiti, DMRC has identified R K Ashram, Rajouri Garden, Kuhat Enclave, Shiva-ji Park and Pitampura among other stations that require beautification on a large scale. Also in the list are other stations like Civil Lines and Vidhan Sabha.
In its last order, a bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar had directed students and candidates to work with DMRC to restore its defaced properties across the city after being informed that 76 locations were found to be permanently defaced and restoring them would cost over Rs 16 lakh and take six months time.
In the meeting, apprehension of escalating costs hung heavy on the student leaders, even as DMRC officials tried to allay these, underlining that the more students that pitch in, the lesser would be the burden on the candidates.
“Where ever there is physical damage to pillars or other properties, the plan has to be different. But where it is only disfigurement, it can be beautified through paintings and murals by students,” a senior official said, advising students to first meet volunteers and prepare a plan on renovation.
DMRC standing counsel Pushkar Sood suggested that renovation should also carry a message such acts of vandalism won’t be
repeated by students. “Perhaps one line can go below the murals like a pledge that defacement won’t happen again,” Sood indicated.
Tuseed’s lawyer Aman Panwar agreed, and advised his client to start renovation work from first week of June, once DU examinations get over.
Though HC is nudging the student leaders to undo some of the damage, it is expected to take a hard line against those candidates who have been avoiding its summons to the PIL hearing. It has already issued bailable warrants against more than 15 candidates who contested the 2017 DUSU polls, for failing to appear before it despite being served notice in connection with the PIL against defacement of public property.
HC had earlier demanded an action plan from Tuseed, Vice President Kunal Sehrawat and ABVP candidate Rajat Choudhary. "Give us an action plan. Have a painting competition and let Delhi government use those paintings in restoring the defaced properties," it had said, while directing all the students to coordinate with authorities to propose relevant designs with a view to beautify the property restoring its aesthetic value.
The bench had said it cannot “tolerate” public property being "blatantly" defaced and stressed that in order to avert future destruction of public properties a public awareness campaign must be initiated by the Centre and Delhi government.
2018: Rocky Tuseed ineligible: HC
The Delhi high court annulled NSUI candidate Rocky Tuseed’s election as Delhi University Students’ Union president, holding him ineligible for the post.
In the process, Justice V K Rao upheld DU’s chief election officer’s decision of rejecting Tuseed’s nomination last year due to a pending disciplinary case against him. Last year, in an interim order, HC had allowed Tuseed, whose nomination for presidential post was rejected, to contest DUSU elections but made it clear that his election will be subject to the final outcome of the writ petition filed by him challenging DU’s decision against him.
1999-2017: mirroring the mood of the nation?
Social Scientists Say Past Results Reflected National Mood
Will the results of Wednesday’s elections for Delhi University’s student union portend what will follow in 2019 in the general elections? In the past, the DUSU poll results broadly indicated the national preference for political parties, but most observers said the contenders this year are too evenly poised.
Social scientist Anand Kumar knows that university elections can impact national politics. “The election results in DU reflect how the students are thinking about certain issues,” he said. “Political parties have realised this and so invest time and money in the elections.” History does seem to suggest that DU students have been on the ball when it comes to political choices.
A look at the results in the years when general elections were preceded by DUSU polls and the years following show such a relation to national politics. In 1999 when the National Democratic Alliance won a wafer-thin majority, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad too made a comeback in DU. In 2003, the Congress’s college organisation, the National Students’ Union of India, or NSUI, won a majority of DUSU seats. This show was repeated on the national scene the following year, when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance trumped NDA in the 2004 general elections. Right up to 2007, NSUI continued its impressive clean sweep of DUSU polls. In September 2008, NSUI won three of the four central panel posts in DUSU, and a year later, in the Lok Sabha polls, UPA retained power at the Centre.
Then the trend changed. In 2010, ABVP made major inroads and, barring 2012, won the majority of the union posts, performing so well as to make clean sweeps in 2014 and 2015. It wasn’t surprising that BJP thrashed UPA in the general elections of 2014.
Kumar, in the backdrop of this history, could be correct when he feels this year’s results will presage the way 2019 goes. Former DUSU president and Congress leader Amrita Dhawan thinks along the same lines. “There is unrest in the student community and we have seen what happened at Hyderabad Central University and at JNU,” she said. “Promises like employment have not been fulfilled by the current government and the youth are not happy. The youth at DU may make their feelings about 2019 known in the student union polls.”
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken, however, isn’t so sure. Said Maken: “It is not necessarily true that the DUSU results will give an indication of the future. DUSU results are based on many factors such as the students’ views on national politics and on how well the campaign organisers have done their work.” He pointed out that NSUI won two of the four DUSU posts in 2017, but didn’t fare well in the Delhi municipal corporation elections.
BJP leader Satish Upadhyay agreed with Maken’s inference: “No, the union polls won’t necessarily predict what will happen in the 2019 general elections,” he emphasised. “They do, however, reveal the concerns the youth have, and these could be taken up by political parties.”
Aam Aadmi Party leader AAP leader and MLA Alka Lamba too believes that DUSU is not a reliable forerunner because “money and muscle power now play an inordinate role” in the results. “I am not sure if a fair picture of the students’ mood emerges in such an atmosphere,” she concluded.
It is not necessarily true that the DUSU results will give an indication of the future. DUSU results are based on many factors such as the students’ views on national politics and on how well the campaign organisers have done their work
2007-17: Voting percentage and former DUSU presidents,
Some prominent, former DUSU presidents
Voting percentage and winners, Delhi University Students' Union, 2007-17
2010-18: polling percentage
DUSU elections, 2010-18- voting percentage
See graphic, '2012-14, Votes polled and victorious...'
2012-16: voting percentage and winners
See graphic, 'DUSU elections, 2012-16- voting percentage and winners '
2014,15, 16: trends
See graphic, '2015: DUSU election results...'
The Times of India, September 11, 2016
Saffron tide in DU, but red fort intact in JNU
NSUI dented ABVP's victory record in the Delhi University Students' Union polls, making a comeback after two years and winning one of the four central seats. Candidates of BJP-affiliated ABVP , which had recorded back-to-back clean sweeps in 2014 and 2015, won the posts of president, vicepresident and secretary , but yielded the joint secretary's post to the students' wing of the Congress.
Suitably enough, unlike on the previous occasions or even when it had won just the president's post in 2008, ABVP this time celebrated its triumph in a subdued manner. The gulaal and crackers were missing and the victory march at the Vivekananda Statue at the Arts Faculty was not as boisterous as before.
ABVP not only failed to sustain the momentum of 2014 and 2015, but even its winning margins and the vote share dipped. Amit Tanwar won the post of DUSU president by a margin of 4,664 votes. In 2015, ABVP had recorded a vote share of 35.9% which slid to 34.5% this year. While Tanwar's margin was the biggest for the outfit, its lowest had been a similar 4,610 last year.
NSUI, whose Mohit Garid is the new joint secretary , claimed that the “massive increase“ in the vote share for his organisation spelt the end of ABVP in DU. “We are now confident of winning all four posts in 2017,“ said Garid. However, there was no such vote swing in its favour, and it recorded a 24.7% vote share, almost unchanged from 24.8% in 2015.
While Tanwar said that the vote “is a comment against the anti-national activities across the country“, an allusion to the February 9 incident in JNU, the leftist student organisation, AISA, actually improved its vote count on every ballot. “Taking its jingoistic rhe toric to a high with its `9 ka badla 9 ko lenge' slogan, ABVP boasted it would wipe out AISA from DU and defeat it in the JNU students' union elections, but both the claims have fallen flat,“ said Aman Nawaz, secretary , AISA, DU unit.
Some students said that the dip in ABVP's vote share was due to it deviating from campus issues and bringing the “anti-national“ issue to the election table. But Ankit Singh Sangwan, the new DUSU secretary , was undeterred and said at the victory march: “Nationalism has been our main issue throughout the elections and we will work at instilling nationalism in the students.“
Meanwhile, the only female candidate to win the polls, Priyanka, who as ABVP candidate won the post of DUSU vice-president, opined that the low turnout on polling day had helped NSUI. “The turnout was poor because several firstyear and second-year students weren't issued ID cards in time,“ she alleged. “Also several colleges didn't hold elections, so fewer students turned up to vote. Otherwise we would have swept the polls again.“
However, putting behind the politicking, she said, “We will now work closely with all students, especially the girl students. We will set up special cells for them and also launch a safety app for them.“
2016 elections: ABVP wins 3, NSUI 1
The Times of India, Sep 10, 2016
Manash Pratim Gohain
DUSU poll: ABVP wins 3 seats, NSUI 1
BJP's student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) bagged three of the four seats in the Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) elections.
ABVP won the post of president, vice president and secretary. The post of joint secretary went to Congress's National Students Union of India (NSUI).
Amit Tanwar was elected president of DUSU while Priyanka Chabri won vice president's post. Ankit Sangwan and Mohit Sangwan have been elected as secretary and joint secretary respectively.
Delhi University introduced NOTA in 2016-17 and a large number of voters preferred it.
Only 36.2% of students cast their ballot+ in DUSU polls in 2016-17. The turnout was the lowest since 2011 when it was 36.5%.
On Friday, the morning turnout was approximately 33%, significantly lower than last year's overall turnout of 43.3%. In fact, voter turnout in 2013-16 has hovered around 43%. In 2010, only 36% of students cast their vote.
Voters and students' outfits blamed the DU administration for the poor turnout.
One reason for the poor turnout was because four colleges — Ramjas, Law Faculty, Ramanujan and Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Science — did not conduct their internal students' union polls along with the DUSU elections. The admission chaos and delay in declaration of results were other reasons attributed for the low turnout.
2017: NSUI bags president, VP after 2012
Jolt To ABVP, Loses Prez Seat After 4 Years In A Game Of One-Upmanship, ABVP Puts Up Brave Front, Says Its Core Votes Are Intact
In a major upset in the Delhi University Students' Union election, the Congress-backed National Students' Union of India on Wednesday wrested the top two posts from the right-wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, whose vote share for the president's post dipped significantly from 34.5% last year to 26.8%.
NSUI nominees won the posts of president and vice president, the first time since 2012 that the group has bagged more than one DUSU post. NSUI's Rocky Tuseed, who had got the court's goahead to fight the elections after his candidature was can celled by the university's election committee, became DUSU president with 16,299 votes, beating ABVP's Rajat Choudhary by 1,590 votes. NSUI was quick to dub the results as the begin ning of a “saffron safaya“, starting from the DU campus, while ABVP claimed that its core votes were intact.
The elections also saw a high percentage of NOTA votes, with 16.5% of voters pressing the `none-of-theabove' button for the joint secretary's post.
Kunal Sehrawat of NSUI won the post of vice-president, while Mahamedhaa Nagar and Uma Shankar of ABVP won the posts of secretary and joint secretary , respectively . Over 54,000 votes were polled for each of these posts. The far-left AISA, which has been gaining grounds in DU in the last three-four year, lost in terms of vote share (from 11.8% in 2016 to 8.9% in 2017 for the post of president).
The results were a jolt for the ABVP , which has dominated DU student politics in recent years, having won at least three of the four posts in every election since 2010, with the exception of 2012.These included clean sweeps in 2014 and 2015.
“Of course, it is a disappointment to lose two seats.But we have maintained our support base in DU and our votes haven't been reduced.We look forward to working together on student issues with NSUI in DUSU as they have come on an equal platform. We lost the two other two posts narrowly ,“ said Saket Bahuguna, national media convener, ABVP .
NSUI saw the results as a wider vote against BJP . “This is the beginning of the `saf fron safaya' starting from DU campus. The students saw through the way PM Modi campaigned for ABVP through his televised address to the youth. And this is not only a mandate against the ABVP's violence on campus starting with Ramjas college to Law Faculty , Hyderabad Central University to Jawaharlal Nehru University , but also a vote against the central government's work in last three years,“ claimed Amrish Ranjan Pandey , national spokesperson, Indian Youth Congress.
Riding on the anti-ABVP sentiment, NSUI's vote share for the post of president increased from 24.7% in 2016 to 29.8% this year. While it won the president's post comfortably , its winning margin for post of vice president was just 175 votes.
On the other hand, the group missed the chance of inflicting a bigger defeat on ABVP , losing the joint secretary's post by 342 votes.
Tuseed's victory itself is significant as on the day of issuing the final list of candidate, the DU election committee had cancelled his nomination. He approached the Delhi high court and got his candidature reinstated just two days to campaign.
“It is a major comeback for us (NSUI) in DU. We won because of our work for the students despite being out of DU in 2014 and 2015. The mandate is also against the attack on liberal and democratic values unleashed by the ABVP . DU students have given us a huge responsibility to fight for their rights,“ said Tuseed.
Another highlight of the elections were a significant increase in the number students opting for NOTA. Of the 54,603 votes polled for the post of joint secre tary , 9,028 went to NOTA. For the post of president, 5,162 students pressed the NOTA button.
The victorious NSUI candidates met Congress president Sonia Gandhi as the party sought to give the result a wider political significance.
“Traditionally , ABVP used to win the DUSU polls till 1985 while in the later years, it became a mixed contest between NSUI and the saffron body . But never during these years had any outfit asked for rejection of nomination papers on fraudulent grounds which had to be restored by the high court. This is a manifestation of the subversion of Indian universities by the NDA-BJP government,“ Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said.
Many observers saw the violence in Ramjas college on February 21, 2017, followed by the cancellation of a play on nationalism at SGTB Khalsa college's fest as brazen intimidation by the ABVP-led DUSU, which also allegedly led to disallowing of three plays in a street play event at Ramjas and postponement of an Independence Day event at Delhi School of Economics due to security concerns.
The alleged involvement of DUSU president Amit Tanwar in the reported harassment of the law faculty dean also doesn't seem to have gone down well with the students.
Associate professor Suraj Yadav of Swami Shraddhanand College said: “Students have rejected the anti-higher education policies of Modi government, resulting in scrapping of seats, charging of exorbitant fees, jobs being decreased and attack on reservations etc. DUSU results, after the setback to BJP in DUTA and JNUSU, is an anti-Modi mandate of the youth and students of Delhi University .“
2018 results: ABVP 3, NSUI 1
Saffron Outfit Bags 3 Posts, NSUI Wins 1
The right-wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad made a big comeback in the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) polls after regaining more than the vote share they lost last year.
The results showed that National Students’ Union of India, the student wing of Congress, also improved its vote share by 2.4 percentage points, but could not translate this into victory, conceding three of the four seats to ABVP. Some EVMs witnessed glitches during the initial phase of counting.
NSUI gets highest vote share in 6 yrs, CYSS’ count drops further
ABVP Gets Back Lost Vote Share, Says This Is Proof India Supports Saffron
After a counting in DUSU polls marred by glitches in electronic voting machines, with two of the machines at one point allotting 40 votes to non-existent candidates, Ankiv Baisoya, Shakti Singh and Jyoti Chaudhary, all of ABVP, were elected, respectively, the president, vice-president and joint secretary. Aakash Choudhary of NSUI is the new DUSU secretary. AAP’s student organisation, Chhatra Yuwa Sangharsh Samiti, which fought in alliance with leftist All India Students’ Association, was third in all the posts.
After an impressive show in four consecutive polls in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016), ABVP faced a major setback in 2017, when it not only conceded two of the top posts to NSUI, but also dropped its vote share by 7.7%. This year, it recorded a gain of 8.4% in vote share. Baisoya, a resident of Kotla Mubarakpur in south Delhi and student of Buddhist Studies at DU, defeated Sunny Chillar of NSUI by a margin of 1,744 votes to grab the post of president.
Citing its upward trend from 2013 and the clean sweeps in 2014 and 2015 which coincided with the win of BJP in the general elections in 2014, Bharat Khatana, head of ABVP’s DU unit, was quick to draw comparisons. “DUSU gives direction to the nation. These results will impact next year’s election,” he exulted.
ABVP media in-charge Monica Chaudhary added, “Though these are student elections, DU attracts a lot of attention across the country. This victory shows that the nation supports our ideology and will continue to do so.”
While NSUI won the post of secretary by a huge margin of 6,089 votes, it faced comprehensive losses in the contest for the other posts. “We wish the new DUSU all the best,” said Akshay Lakra, Delhi state president, NSUI. “However, these elections left many questions unanswered regarding the EVMs. While the machines were functioning perfectly till yesterday, how come they malfunctioned today? And why were VVPAT machines not used as demanded by NSUI?”
The AISA-CYSS alliance had a vote share of 13.8% and came third in all the four posts. CYSS last contested in 2015 and had a vote share of 14.7% then.
The polls saw a 44.5% turnout, a record high in 12 years. In all, over 58,000 votes were cast for each post, which is over 4,000 more than last year. NOTA, introduced in 2016, was the lowest this year at only 10.7% of the total votes. In 2016, the figure was 12.6% and had jumped to 16.5% last year.
The new DUSU president, Baisoya, has been an activist of ABVP for over five years and he had vied for the nomination only for the second time. Describing his humble beginnings as the son of a government servant, Baisoya said that he “will work for a responsible DUSU which will cater to all the problems of the students and respond to them as diligently as possible”.
“I will make sure that the ABVP’s policies on student safety, women’s empowerment, affordable transport and nationalistic thoughts are brought to the forefront,” he said.
Despite the unrest on campus, much of which was attributed to the R-S-S-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, not only did more students come out to vote in the student union elections, but the rightwing organisation ended up winning three of the four key central seats. The rising trend in NOTA votes, considered to be a negative vote against the traditional style of politics of ABVP and the Congress-affiliated NSUI, too was arrested in 2018.
Both ABVP and NSUI logged higher vote shares, showing that the combo of AISA and CYSS did not win over the majority of traditional NOTA voters. AISA, in fact, lost a fair bit of vote share, while CYSS got just 11% against the 14% that it garnered in its only other campaign in 2015. They jointly logged 13.8% this year. The two student organisations have all along been alleging an attack on the free speech and educational institutions by the Centre, but they didn’t find takers.
Debraj Mookerjee of Ramjas College observed that DU of today has always been apathetic to union elections. Indeed, a decade ago in 2007, the turnout was a mere 25%, going up to the 40% mark only from 2012. But the trend has altered somewhat, said Mookerjee, “and the youth have expressed their desire to be an active part of the democratic process because of various factor, including exposure through the media”.
He saw the increase in vote share for AVBP and NSUI and the dip for AISA and CYSS as an indication of the polarisation among major national formations leading up to the Lok Sabha polls next year. “This was not the case in 2017, and there was a decline in votes for ABVP,” he noted.
While AISA’s vote share was 17% in 2014, it had begun to slide steadily, reaching 8.9% last year. Niraj Kumar, Delhi AISA secretary, argued that this was part of the changes in yearly trends. “We did well in the contest for president and got over 8,000 votes,” he pointed out. In terms of percentage, only the alliance’s joint secretary candidate, Sunny Tanwar, mustered a respectable 9,199 votes, or 15.8% of the total.
Kumar also maintained, “Students did not have information about us because the alliance was only tied up a few days before polling and we didn’t have the resources to quickly reach out to the voters. These same students will look for alternative politics when they become unhappy with the money-muscle power politics here.”
Sociologist Raja Laxmi of Jesus and Mary College, however, felt that DU students weren’t swayed by money or muscle power as much as by ideology and agendas. The professor punched holes in the AISA-CYSS claims of representing alternative politics and said, “If they are claiming to do so, then they should come up with alternative ideas and offer exclusive election planks. But the issues they harp on and make promises about are the same as those of the other parties.”
Students did not have information about us because the alliance was only tied up a few days before polling and we didn’t have the resources to quickly reach out to the voters. These same students will look for alternative politics when they become unhappy with the money-muscle power politics.
Baisoya’s certificate was fake, not issued by TN varsity
Thiruvalluvar University has written to the Tamil Nadu government confirming the allegations of fake certificate against DUSU president Ankiv Baisoya.
K Murugan, vice-chancellor of Thiruvalluvar University, confirmed the same to TOI on Thursday, saying the letter was sent on Wednesday after the TN government had asked for a response on the matter.
Following the election of ABVP’s Baisoya in September, the Congress-backed NSUI alleged around three weeks ago that the certificates submitted during his admission to the Buddhist studies department were fake. However, DU is yet to make any official statement on the matter.
In the letter to the principal secretary of the TN higher education department, the registrar said an official verification of records had found the certificate to be fake. “I hereby submit that Mr Ankiv Baisoya has not enrolled either in our university or in any of our constituent or affiliated colleges and is not our student at all,” he stated in the letter. “The certificate he has produced is fake and not from our university. The controller of examination has issued a letter stating that the certificate is not genuine after verification of records of the controller of examination office.”
Following the development, NSUI Delhi president Akshay Lakra said, “The letter clearly states that the document submitted by Baisoya was fake. The head of the department, K T S Sarao, is trying to save Baisoya as he is ABVP’s candidate. Even after 15 days of submitting our complaint to DU, they have failed to take any action against him. NSUI is left with no other option but to move court.”
Raising doubts over legality of the letter, ABVP claimed, “There are no stamps on the letter, so we are not sure if the letter is even real.” Its media convener, Monica Chaudhary, said they were waiting for DU to complete its investigation and give its assessment of the case.
ABVP forces Baisoya to step down
Ankiv Baisoya was forced to step down as DUSU president by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad on Thursday. He was also suspended from the students’ organisation pending completion of enquiry against him for allegedly submitting “fake” academic certificates while taking admission to the MA course in Buddhist Studies.
ABVP claimed Baisoya was asked to resign to “maintain the outfit’s reputation” before Delhi high court heard the case on November 20. It also said Baisoya would not be involved in organisational responsibilities till the enquiry was over. Bharat Khatana, Delhi state secretary of the R-S-S-affiliated student group, said, “We had requested the university administration to complete the verification process but they kept on delaying it, leading to rumours being spread. We asked Baisoya to resign because the rumours were tarnishing our image and that of DUSU.”
Monica Chaudhary, national media-in-charge, ABVP, added, “We do not say Baisoya is guilty or innocent, but DU had the right to verify his documents and stop the rumours, which it did not.”
Baisoya himself called the matter “a conspiracy” to defame him because “I started to raise questions about admissions in DU”. He said on social media, “I assure you all that I will prove these allegations false.”
After Baisoya won the presidential seat in DUSU in September, NSUI produced a document from Thiruvalluvar University of Tamil Nadu showing the marksheet he had submitted from that institution to gain admission was not genuine. The Buddhist Studies department was asked to investigate the matter, but there only were claims and counterclaims about the enquiry letters having been sent or received. In the event, the two-month period that allowed for a new election under Lyngdoh Committee rules lapsed.
NSUI and AISA called the resignation a “face-saving attempt”. Ruchi Gupta, who oversees NSUI matters for the Congress, declared the decision had come “under pressure and not on principle, given the hearing on November 20 would have certainly disqualified Baisoya”. She demanded fresh elections, saying the two-month stipulation was only advisory, not binding.
Neither the DU administration nor the head of the Buddhist Studies department responded to the resignation.
Jan, 2019: New DUSU president notified
Delhi University finally notified Shakti Singh as the new student union president after a delay of weeks. The vice-president was notified as the head of the union after the elected head Ankiv Baisoya had to step down over the fake marksheet row. Singh was promoted in a notice by DU administration, which was signed by DU election committee — including the chief election commissioner. The notice claims to be in compliance with the Delhi high court order of December 18. The new DUSU president said the notification comes after a series of ABVP agitations. “Now, I will go ahead with my plans for all the pro-student policies,” he said.
ABVP welcomed the notification but criticised the administration for the delay. “We still have many demands in line, including ones for disabled students, fee reduction in revaluation, filling posts of DU administration that has caused problems for students, amongst others,” said Siddharth Yadav, ABVP member.
NSUI, however, condemned the decision. “DU administration has not followed the court orders. The university has decided to promote a hooligan like Shakti Singh despite his violent actions in south campus and at Zakir Husain College before the polls,” said the student body’s state president Akshay Lakra. Kawalpreet Kaur, AISA DU leader, said the move was not surprising. “Administration deliberately delayed attempts to verify Baisoya’s degree for over two months, so they could handover the position to Singh. This is being done under pressure by the government,” she said.
Presidents of DUSU
1974-2009 (selective list)
Winning in the Delhi University Students’ Union election is not simply an entitlement to a year in an influential youth post. The students’ union is a veritable springboard to politics, and a CV with an election victory has cachet among national political parties. That is why rather than being a mere university body polls, the annual campaign for DUSU is when the parties put potential party leaders through the wringer.
The fact that DUSU office bearers have it in them to take up the biggest political assignments later in life is clear from the list that carries names like Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken, BJP leader Satish Upadhyay and Aam Aadmi Party MLA Alka Lamba.
Upadhyay testifies to how winning the post of vice-president prepared him for bigger things when he says, “DUSU politics gives you political maturity and teaches you how and when to react to certain situations. If elected, in a small way one gets an experience of how to govern.”
Indeed, political scientist Anand Kumar, a former JNU teacher, gives DU the epithet of “mini theatre of national politics” and notes that the national parties are ready to invest money in the elections to the students’ union “so young leaders are able to learn how to debate, win, lose and be tolerant of different ideologies”.
Congress spokesperson Ragini Nayak, who was DUSU president in 2005-06, takes the explanation a step further. “I look at all students’ union elections, including DUSU’s, as nurturing and training grounds for holistic development of young citizens, making them conscious of their socio-political rights and duties,” she says. For decades, DUSU has helped the youth inculcate a culture of proactive political participation, awakened their political consciousness, and channelled their social obligations and a desire for social change.
Of course, winning a DUSU post by itself does not confer unchallengeable rights on a future politician. Congress leader Amrita Dhawan, who was president in 2006-07 as a NSUI winner, believes that Delhi University indeed provides a platform for those interested in active politics, but only if they are hard workers.
“To become active in student politics, one needs to be responsible. To win, one has to be an extraordinary student leader. But only after your hard work is recognised by a party are you assured of climbing up the ladder,” Dhawan points out, before adding in a tone of finality, “Just by winning the DUSU polls, you don’t automatically become a national leader.”
Because becoming a union post holder through elections is such a testing task and because it provides a lifelong political conditioning, the temptation to win at all costs is now a bane that infects all candidates. AAP leader and Delhi MLA Alka Lamba, who was DUSU president in 1995-96, rues this attitude. “Polltime campus violence has certainly reduced the sanctity of the elections,” she frowns.
Kumar concurs with this, but observes that since Delhi University is only a microcosm of national politics, it also entails a similar use of money and muscle power.