September used to be a significant, vibrant, and adventurous month in several parts of Delhi before the Covid-19 epidemic. It was the time of the student union elections at the prestigious core institutions of the nation, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the University of Delhi (DU). These two institutions have always stood out from many others around the nation due to their active and lively political environments.
Additionally, because student union elections are conducted in the nation’s capital, they have historically attracted a lot of attention and included participation from politicians and decision-makers.
Student union elections haven’t been held in any of these colleges for more than three years. This oddity is important due to the way it has affected students’ lives as well as the possibility that it points to deeper, more widespread problems.
What is the main reason behind this?
Student unions often shouldn’t exist for longer than a year. However, student politics at these two colleges has gotten so stale that some of the union members are no longer undergraduates, which is a requirement to be eligible to run in these elections. The JNU Students’ Union elections were stopped from 2008 to 2012 owing to non-compliance with election rules, therefore this is not the first time one of these universities has delayed elections.
Nevertheless, the current scenario is distinct for a number of reasons. For starters, administrative indifference more than procedures appears to be the cause of the lack of these elections.
Second, even though the government has cited logistical difficulties as justification for not having elections, this does not explain why entrance and admission procedures are still being held up until 2023—nearly a year after these colleges’ normal academic operations started. However, increased political pressure may be able to account for the delay.
The voice for conducting student union elections
The JNU Students’ Union president, Aishe Ghosh, stated: “We have always demanded union elections. The same union has been in place for three years. Now that students are back on campus, the administration needs to act quickly to hold elections. Students’ groups like the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad have also staged a number of rallies recently calling for college elections.
“University and college campuses are nurseries of leadership; these are the places where actual democracy thrives in the form of debate and discussion, providing effective leadership to the campuses,” said Harsh Attri, the state secretary of the ABVP in Delhi. The process of developing leadership on college campuses includes student union elections.
A strong representation of students is provided by a duly chosen effective leader. Elected student leaders bring the administration’s attention to the challenges, concerns, and needs of the students and work to find solutions. He declared that the ABVP desired on-campus elections.
When will student union elections be held?
Though JNU officials could not be reached for comment on student union elections, DU officials have said that election may be conducted in September when the new session begins.
It is a democratic right and a crucial component of democratic education, according to Rajesh Jha, a former member of DU’s executive council. “The absence of elections has a negative impact on the students. Authorities are attempting to limit students’ democratic rights in the name of Covid. It should be emphasised that prominent leaders from different parties have come from the DUSU. This illustrates how it is a place where future leaders may train” he commented.
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