In DU, unions change but little do manifestos

A few topical problems like concerns of sportspersons and students from NE found their way in the election manifestos of 2 main student groups in DU.

New Delhi: A few hot ticket topical problems like concerns of sportspersons and students from the northeast found their way in the election manifestos of the two main student groups in Delhi University but a bulk of issues appear to have remained consistent over the years.

Days ahead of another student union election in the varsity, both NSUI and ABVP -- the student wings of Congress and BJP respectively - brought out their manifestos today amid much media glare.

While hard hitting language and promises to help make the University world class are elements that are consistent in the manifestos, so is the case with a majority of demands.

Opening of more colleges, starting of evening classes in more colleges, better infrastructure and lab facilities and free bus passes and discount in Metro fares are some of the issues that keep appearing in election agendas year after year.

Improvements have taken place.

The DUSU fund was increased recently from Rs 3.6 lakh to Rs 20 lakh disposal, putting more funds at the disposal of the union to help their efforts.

"We need genuine students who know the University and its issues to fight elections and form the union. We have been pressing for the acceptance of these demands and we will continue to do so," said Ankit Dhananjoy Choudhry, ABVP`s presidential candidate.

Asked why the issues that need intervention keep repeating themselves, and whether this shows that successive unions have not worked, he said, "All issues cannot be resolved quickly, but ask students in the campus, it is ABVP activists who have consistently raised their demands and concerns."

Thanks to the much-publicised case of India`s U-19 cricket star Unmukt Chand, the NSUI`s election manifesto has a topical edge.

"The case of sportspersons is very important. Our demand is that they should not only be compensated for attendance but also be given marks for sports," said Arun Hooda, the NSUI presidential candidate.

The NSUI manifesto also demands that the University
compensate NCC cadets with attendance.

The recent raid and copyright violation lawsuit against the University and a photocopy establishment by publishers also found its way in the discussion and things that need attention.

"The NSUI demands that the University should tie up with publishers to make low-cost editions of course books and related readings available," read the manifesto.

With the recent exodus of northeast students from several cities following rumours and hoax threats fresh in minds, the issue of safety and discrimination of students from the region is also a part of the political debate.

While the NSUI cites its North East Students Cell in Delhi, ABVP has demanded a `Grievance Redressal Committee` for students from the northeast to deal with discrimination and other complaints.

Other demands that have again figured in the manifestos this year are more steps like building of ramps to make the campus friendly for disabled students, decentralisation of admission process for SC/ST students and making DU a closed campus to ensure better security.

While demands are aplenty, how much a students union can exert influence over authorities is another issues.

"A communication channel with the administration is a major problem. Officials do not meet us. If they do regularly and there is better coordination between students representatives and administration, things would be better," admits Rohit Chahal.