DUSU polls: Has ABVP lost the winning touch?

Even as the NSUI won the DU elections, the question remains, how popular is the ABVP everywhere else? We find out.

WrittenBy:Sahla Nechiyil
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Rocky Tuseed and Kunal Sehrawat brought the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the Congress’ students outfit back to Delhi University (DU), winning the post of president and vice-president. The RSS’ Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which was exceedingly confident about retaining their three year hegemony, had to settle with the posts of secretary and joint secretary. Tuseed defeated Rajat Choudhari of ABVP by a margin of 1590 votes and Sehrawat defeated Paarth Rana by 175 votes.
When the counting began at Kingsway police camp around 10 am, (one and a half hours later than scheduled), ABVP was seen leading in all four seats.  

Around 1 pm, it came as a breaking news and a big jolt for ABVP supporters who had already started bursting crackers and chanting Vande Mataram, that NSUI was ahead in three posts including president, vice-president and joint secretary. ABVP’s Mahamedha Nagar, the candidate for secretary, however, maintained her position.
However, it was a surprise for all the journalists including this Newslaundry correspondent who was inside the counting station, to see the election commission reluctant to share the numbers. It was only after the journalists began shouting at the police personnel that the election commission agreed to share the numbers which showed a historic result for NSUI which has not been in power in years. It was towards the end  that ABVP’s Uma Shankar, the joint secretarial candidate was declared victorious by a margin of 342 votes.

Is there a changing dynamics on campuses across the country?

Being a campus that has contributed student leaders to national politics, the Delhi University election had always been analysed thoroughly by the media and political scientists. Can the setback to ABVP be seen as a resistance to Right-wing politics?
Also, when a particular party holds power at the centre, its student outfit typically performs well on campus. Can today’s results be interpreted as anti-incumbency? We examine ABVP’s position in elections in other politically vibrant campuses to find out.
The election in Jawaharlal Nehru University, which is known to be a Left bastion, ended just three days ago, bringing a clean sweep for the Left alliance. However, ABVP claimed the ‘real victory’ as they managed to secure the second position in all four seats, becoming the second largest party on campus.
Another setback came from Rajasthan University, where an independent candidate Pawan Yadav, who is also a former ABVP member, won the post of president. ABVP lost three out of four of the major posts in Rajasthan University students’ union elections.
In Panjab University, ABVP fielded a candidate for the post of president for the first time and made its presence felt. Though NSUI had a stunning victory in the union, ABVP secured 1,522 votes, even as 725 came from one department, the University Institute of Engineering and Technology.
Jadavpur University, also known for its Left leaning stance has had a spate of incidents, relating to ideology, over the last one year. By all accounts the RSS-backed body was in ascendancy and it was assumed it would make its presence felt on campus. And it did as ABVP’s three candidates fetched 858 votes.
In Kerala’s Sree Kerala Varma College at Thrissur, ABVP made history by polling zero votes in a post. Students were amused and surprised by the results in the Mathematics Association as the ABVP candidate polled zero votes implying that even the ABVP candidate’s own vote went elsewhere.
However, we need to wait as universities such as Hyderabad, Pondicherry, Aligarh are yet to conduct their elections.


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