The RSS-affiliated ABVP maintained its dominance in the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) by winning three central panel posts, including that of president, on Saturday while its arch-rival NSUI, the student wing of the Congress, bagged the remaining one.
The elections, which happened after a gap of four years, assume significance ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due early next year. The polling was held on Friday and the votes were counted on Saturday.
Tushar Dedha, Aparajita and Sachin Baisla of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) won the posts of president, secretary and joint secretary, respectively, while Abhi Dahiya of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) bagged the post of vice-president.
The ABVP’s landslide victory in the DUSU polls reflected the young generation’s faith in “the ideology that puts national interest first”, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said and congratulated ABVP activists.
Some BJP leaders said the poll outcome showed the defeat of the opposition INDIA bloc and was another addition to the string of defeats faced by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
The CPI(M)-backed Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and the CPI(ML)-Liberation-linked All India Students’ Association (AISA) were also in the fray but failed to make any significant impact. The NSUI, AISA and SFI had discussed a possible tie-up in the lead-up to the polls but failed to forge an alliance.
Twenty-four candidates were in the fray for the four central panel posts.
The DUSU elections have always seen a direct fight between the ABVP and the NSUI. The ABVP won three of the four seats in the last elections in 2019. The polls could not be held in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 while possible disruptions to the academic calendar prevented their conduct in 2022.
Even before the results were announced, celebrations began at the counting centre with ABVP supporters beating dhols and raising slogans of victory. After the results were announced, the supporters continued the celebrations with the winning candidates posing at the iconic Vivekananda Statue in Arts Faculty in DU’s North Campus.
Tushar Dedha won the post of president, defeating NSUI’s Hitesh Gulia by a margin of 3,115 votes. Dedha got 23,460 votes and Gulia 20,345.
For the post of vice-president, Abhi Dahiya received 22,331 votes and defeated ABVP’s Sushant Dhankar by a margin of 1,829 votes.
Aparajita, the lone woman candidate of the ABVP, defeated NSUI’s Yakshana Sharma by a margin of 12,937 votes. Her margin of victory was the highest among the central panel posts. Sachin Baisla defeated NSUI’s Shubham Kumar Chaudhary by a margin of 9,995 votes.
“Our panel has registered this victory because of the previous work done by ABVP in DU and continuous activism on the campus. Student union elections are being held after four years and ABVP faced so many problems. Winning with a huge margin shows that ABVP has always been ready in all kinds of situation to work for students,” Dedha said.
Home Minister Shah described as “landslide” the ABVP’s victory in the DUSU polls and congratulated all the workers of the students’ outfit.
“This victory reflects the faith of the young generation in the ideology that puts national interest first. I have full confidence that the ABVP workers will continue to work with determination to keep the ideals of Swami Vivekananda and the spirit of nationalism alive among the youth,” Shah posted on X.
BJP chief J P Nadda congratulated ABVP workers on the victory.
“Inspired by the ideals of Swami Vivekananda, @ABVPVoice has always kindled a flame of nationalism and selfless service in the hearts of our youth. I congratulate all the karyakartas of ABVP for their emphatic victory in #DUSUElection2023. This triumph shows the ubiquitous acceptance of the ideology of ‘nation first’ among our young generation, who will shape our nation’s tomorrow,” he posted on X.
Union minister Kiren Rijiju congratulated the winning candidates of the ABVP.
“#ABVP sweeps #DUSU. Rahul Gandhi campaigned in Delhi University Students Union Election which helped ABVP to increase its vote share! Congratulations to all the Winning Candidates of ABVP, it’s cadres as well as all the wishers!” the minister posted on X.
BJP MP and party youth wing president Tejasvi Surya posted, “Congratulations to Team ABVP on winning the DUSU elections. A clear indication of the ideological positions that our students and young are taking in the country. Vande Mataram.” The NSUI thanked its activists and supporters for the victory in the post of vice-president.
In a post on X, it said, “Congratulations to Abhi Dahiya for securing victory in the post of Vice President in the Delhi University students’ union elections. We would like to thank all the supporters and activists of the NSUI This victory belongs to you. We pledge to keep raising the voice of common students across the nation.”
The AISA welcomed the verdict and said that the results showed it is still the “third front” in the university. “Despite the unabashed display of money and muscle power, violation of norms during elections, and incidents of violence, students turned up in large numbers to participate in this democratic process and gave their mandate.
After the huge setback of the lockdown and BJP-RSS-ABVP’s campaign of violence and hooliganism, AISA has shown that it is still the third front and the biggest democratic force in Delhi University,” it said.
Chander Shekhar — the chief election officer for the polls — said the university recorded a voter turnout of 42 per cent. Around one lakh students were eligible to vote in the election.
Elections at 52 colleges and departments for the central panel were conducted through electronic voting machines (EVMs) while voting for the college union polls was on paper ballots.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)