New Delhi: Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), which has been considered as a stepping stone to mainstream politics over the years, will see six of its former office bearers sweating it out in the February 7 polls.
While four of the former DUSU leaders started their career with BJP's youth wing Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), two of them began with Congress affiliated National Students Union of India (NSUI).
Nupur Sharma, who was elected as DUSU president in 2008, is locked in a fight with former Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the high-profile New Delhi constituency. Congress has fielded former Union Minister Kiran Walia from the seat.
After her stint with the ABVP, the youth wing of BJP, 29-year-old Nupur was appointed as the media co in-charge of Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha in 2010. Later, she became the executive committee member of BJP Delhi and was part of the media committee for 2013 polls in Delhi.
"DUSU definitely was a stepping stone for my political career. It is there that I learnt how to mobilise youth support," she says.
Contesting from Rohini is former Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta.
He was elected as vice president in 1984 DUSU polls and later became the president of Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha.
51-year-old Gupta has been elected thrice in the Municipal elections from Rohini that too with the highest margin in Delhi. He is pitted against AAP's Charanji Lal Gupta and Congress' Sukhbir Sharma.
"I learnt the nuances of politics during my college years at SRCC. Infact, before holding the DUSU vice president post, I was secretary of the Janta Vidyarthi Morcha in 1983. Youth transforming into future leaders, is neither a new notion nor a new trend. It has been there since decades," he says.
Another prominent DUSU face in the poll fray is senior Congress leader and former Union minister Ajay Maken, who is contesting from Sadar Bazar.
Maken's election as DUSU President in 1985 paved way for his political career spanning decades during which he held different portfolios as Union Minister including Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Youth and Sports Affairs and Home Affairs. Currently, he is the Congress seneral secretary.
AAP, on the other hand, has fielded a noted DUSU face Alka Lamba from Chandni Chowk Assembly constituency. An alumnus of the prestigious St Stephen's College, Lamba contested for DUSU president's post in 1995 on NSUI ticket and won by a huge margin. She quit the Congress in December 2013 to volunteer for the Aam Aadmi Party.
BJP has also fielded Anil Jha Vats, who was elected as DUSU president in 1997.
Vats is contesting from Kirari constituency where he has emerged victorious twice including the 2013 elections.
"A DUSU background does help to embark on a political career but one has to be loyal to the party and work hard for the public to remain in the fray. Getting ticket is not the only parameter for success for a politician but gaining the mandate of public," he says.
Also in fray is, BJP's Rekha Gupta who was elected as DUSU president in 1996.
Gupta, who was elected to the Delhi Councillor elections from Uttari Pitampura in 2007, is contesting from Shalimar Bagh constituency.
Other prominent politicians who started their career as DUSU office bearers include Union Minister Arun Jaitley, Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay, former Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel and former MLA Vijay Jolly, among others.