New Delhi, Sep 12 (PTI) A safer and cleaner campus, better infrastructure, WiFi accessibility and budget-friendly hostels are some of the primary expectations of Delhi University students who cast their votes on Thursday to elect a new union.
Polling for four positions of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) was held at 52 polling centres on Thursday. Sixteen candidates are in the fray and over 1.3 lakh students are eligible to vote.
Sanket Thakur, a student of Ramjas College, said the union should work to uphold rights of the students and ensure improved infrastructure.
"The students' union should talk about student rights and work towards ensuring a better infrastructure in the campus. It should also ensure that students get concessional Delhi Metro passes as the fares are exorbitant," he said.
Pallavi Meena, a law student, said she wants the new students' union to ensure better facilities in libraries.
"The central library of the DU does not have adequate seating facilities for students. There is a scarcity of books for law students whose medium of instruction is Hindi," she claimed.
Shivangi Kapoor, a first-year B.Com(Hons) of Ramjas College said she wants the students' body to work for cleanliness.
"I have voted for a candidate who can ensure that we have a cleaner college and a paperless election campaign," she said.
Out of the 16 candidates in the fray, there are four women in contention, while two of them are contesting independently.
A lot of students expressed happiness over participation of women candidates in the polls.
"It is good that parties are fielding women candidates, that too for the top post. I read somewhere that the NSUI has fielded a woman candidate after a gap of 11 years which indicates that parties have finally woken up to the power of women voters," a student said.
Three women candidates are in contention for the president's post.
For some, safety of women in the campus is a major concern.
Achal Sharma, a law student, said stricter measures and increased police presence are needed to make the campus safer for women.
Another student, Dipanshu Bidhuri, stressed on the need for budget-friendly hostels for students.
Some hostels were built but their rates were too high for students to bear, he claimed.
Pratimesh Karn, who is pursuing his masters, said the union should work to bridge the gap between the varsity administration and the students.
"The Delhi University has fallen in the National Institute Ranking Framework which is not a good thing," he said.
"This indicates that there is a gap somewhere and that the students are not getting that support from the administration. The union should work towards improving the varsity's national rankings and for the welfare of the students," he said.
Anant Kumar, another law student said, "We want WiFi in the campus with a good network."
Some students complained that the elected representatives never turn up to meet them post elections.
"The candidates throw freshers' parties with great pomp and show before the elections. They even talk to us and ask us about the issues that we want to be addressed but they never turn up later," said Ritu, a first year student.
Besides students' issues, several national issues also found mention in the DUSU poll campaign.
The RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) raised the abrogation of certain provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and abolition of Triple talaq during the poll campaign.
The Congress-affiliated National Students' Union of India (NSUI) had accused the BJP of "saffronising education" and making efforts to privatise it.
However, many felt that students' issues matter more in DUSU elections.
"The ABVP had used Prime Minister Narendra Modi's name during its campaign and the NSUI and the AISA criticised the Centre's policies. We also factor in these things when we cast our votes," Shivangi Kapoor said.
"Raking up national issues is just a tactic of the parties and we understand that. I cast my vote after going through the manifestos of the parties and the issues they spoke about," she said.
Concurring with Kapoor, Pallavi Meena said she voted for a candidate who she thinks will raise students' issues and not national ones.
"I have voted for a leader who I think can lead the union and take up our issues. The party is secondary," she said.
The results for the DUSU polls will be declared on Friday. PTI SLB SLB DIV