In a major comeback after five years, the Congress’ student wing NSUI on Wednesday bagged the posts of President and Vice President of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), dealing a jolt to the RSS-affiliated ABVP that won the Secretary and Joint Secretary posts, with the latter result hotly contested by the NSUI.
Officials had earlier said the National Students Union of India (NSUI) bagged three seats but later announced that the Joint Secretary post went to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), sparking a row.
The NSUI has vowed to contest the results in the Delhi High Court, claiming that it had won three seats.
The ABVP had three posts in the outgoing panel of the DUSU.
The poll results were declared a day after the voting which had a 42.8 per cent turnout.
The NSUI’s Rocky Tuseed is the new DUSU President a post the Congress’ student wing held last in 2012. Kunal Sehrawat will be the new Vice President. ABVP’s Mahamedhaa Nagar and Uma Shankar won the posts of Secretary and Joint Secretary respectively.
Tuseed, who polled 16,299 votes, defeated ABVP’s Rajat Chaudhary by 1,590 votes. Sehrawat, with 16,431 votes, scraped past ABVP’s Parth Rana by just 175 votes. Nagar polled 17,156 votes to win by 2,624 votes while Shankar got 16,691 votes winning by 342 votes.
The NSUI has demanded recounting of the votes for the Joint Secretary post, which it claimed its candidate had won.
Congress leader Girish Chodankar, who is in charge of the NSUI, told IANS that they had won three of the four seats “but there was manipulation following the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, after which the results were tampered”.
“We have asked the election committee to recount the votes. If they do not do it by the end of the day, we will approach the Delhi High Court to contest the result. This is a matter of shame for the BJP that they have to manipulate results to ensure that ABVP wins,” Chodankar told IANS.
The DUSU had been under the ABVP’s dominance for the past few years. In a straight contest with the NSUI, the ABVP had won three posts in 2016 while the Congress-affiliate had won one post – that of Joint Secretary.
Top Congress leaders including Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who is in the US, said the DUSU election result indicated that younger people, especially students, in the country were warming up to the party once again.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi met the NSUI’s winners and its members at her residence after their victory march in the university’s north campus.
“Congratulations NSUI on a stellar performance and President win in DUSU. (I) Thank students of DU for reposing faith in the Congress ideology,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the “resounding victory of the NSUI is a rejection of false promises of ‘acche din’ of Modiji”.
Shashi Tharoor, who is accompanying Gandhi in the US, tweeted his congratulations. “Congratulations @nsui on an outstanding performance in #DUSUelection2017. A triumph for liberal values on campus. Proud of you!”
Senior lawyer and Swaraj Abhiyan founder-member Prashant Bhushan also congratulated “DUSU for booting out ABVP goons”.
“After losses in JNU, Guwahati University, Panjab University, it’s clear that students are rejecting the ABVP,” he tweeted.
The NSUI, which took out a car rally in the north campus, celebrating with loud slogan shouting and alleging that the BJP government and the RSS had manipulated the results for joint secretary’s post.
The “HRD Ministry and the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) were pressuring DU administration to manipulate the results”, NSUI tweeted.
“We will approach the Grievance Cell now for the recounting,” NSUI’s Avinash Yadav, who lost the Joint Secretary seat told IANS.
Yadav said senior ABVP leaders were present inside during the counting and the screen showing the video of the counting process went blank for as long as 30 seconds pointing to some irregularities.
Chief Election Officer S. B. Babbar, however, said there were no lapses in the counting as “DU is the only university which uses EVMs”.
“He (Avinash Yadav) is crying foul because he lost by a close margin. And as for lapses in video, they were no longer than couple of seconds.”
“There were no ABVP leaders inside, nor from NSUI, only the candidates,” Babbar told IANS.
Asked about the low margin of his victory, Vice President-elect Sehrawat told IANS: “A win is a win. The margin of victory doesn’t matter.”
The DUSU boost for the Congress student wing came after its dismal performance at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, where the Left alliance won all four seats, defeating the ABVP.
Nagar is accused of hitting a teacher during the violent clashes at Ramjas college earlier this year. After her selection as candidate many pictures of her allegedly manhandling students during the protests did the rounds on social media.