The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) won three out of four seats contested in the 2023 Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections held on Friday, while a candidate of the Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) won the race for DUSU vice president post.
ABVP’s Tushar Dedha won the post of DUSU president, defeating NSUI’s Hitesh Gulia by 3,115 votes. Dedha received 23,460 votes, while Gulia received 20,345. Dedha had previously won the election for college cultural coordinator at Satyawati College in 2016. He was also an executive council member at DUSU.
Dedha, attributing the victory to ABVP’s positive campus activism, said, “ABVP’s dedication to issue-based campaigning resonated with the diverse student body of Delhi University.”
NSUI’s Abhi Dahiya secured the position of vice-president. Dahiya received 22,331 votes and defeated ABVP’s Sushant Dhankar by a margin of 1,829 votes. Dahiya, currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Buddhist Studies, received 22,331 votes, defeating his closest competitor, ABVP’s Dhankar, by 1,829 votes.
ABVP’s Aparajita and Sachin Baisla won the positions of secretary and joint secretary, respectively. While Aparajita defeated NSUI’s Yakshana Sharma by a margin of 12,937 votes, Baisla defeated the NSUI’s Shubham Kumar Chaudhary by a margin of 9,995 votes.
Hailing from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, Aparajita completed her BA (Honours) degree in history from Dyal Singh College. She is pursuing a Master’s degree in Buddhist Studies. Baisla graduated from Ramanujan College and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Buddhist Studies.
As the results were announced, students from the metro station to the campus released balloons into the air, broke out in dance, and showered the winners with flower petals. Security at both DU campuses was heightened, and barricades were deployed as preventive measures to avoid any untoward incidents.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah congratulated the winning candidates of the ABVP. “Hearty congratulations to all the workers of the council on the landslide victory of ABVP in the Delhi University Students Union elections. This victory reflects the faith of the young generation in the ideology that puts national interest first. I have full confidence that the workers of the council will continue to work with determination to keep the ideals of Swami Vivekananda and the spirit of nationalism alive among the youth,” Shah posted on X.
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju also posted on X, congratulating the ABVP. He wrote: “#ABVP sweeps #DUSU. Rahul Gandhi campaigned in Delhi University Students Union election which helped ABVP to increase its vote share! Congratulations to all the Winning Candidates of ABVP, its cadres as well as all the well-wishers!”
BJP MP and party youth wing president Tejasvi Surya posted, “Congratulations to Team ABVP on winning the DUSU elections. A clear indication of the ideological positions that our students and young people are taking in the country. Vande Mataram.”
The DUSU election was conducted after a gap of three years. The DUSU elections were last held in 2019. The polls could not be held in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, while possible disruptions to the academic calendar prevented their conduct in 2022. The students’ union election recorded a voter turnout of 42 per cent. A total of 24 candidates were in the running for the four positions of DUSU president, vice-president, secretary, and joint secretary. The election took place on Friday, with around one lakh students eligible to vote. The counting of votes for the DUSU’s central panel positions of president, vice-president, secretary, and joint secretary concluded on Saturday evening.
DUSU polls data showed a higher voting percentage than in 2019 when a turnout of 39.90 per cent was recorded, though it fell short of the nearly 11-year-high figure of 2018. The turnouts in 2018 and 2017 were 44.46 per cent and 42.8 per cent, respectively.
The DUSU elections have consistently been a direct contest between the ABVP and the NSUI. The Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti, a student wing of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), decided to abstain from the polls. This decision came after the party’s top leadership directed CYSS campus leaders to withdraw from the race, fearing a loss would “impact the image of the Delhi Government”, where the AAP is in power.
As India’s largest central university with students from across the country, the outcome of the DUSU election holds significant political implications. Student politics may not be directly influenced by state or national-level politics, but the outcome of the students’ union elections does create a positive atmosphere for the parties, as a large number of youth vote and express their preferences in these polls. For aspiring young politicians, being elected to the DUSU is seen as a stepping stone to party politics. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, senior Congress leader Ajay Maken, and Delhi’s BJP president Satish Upadhyay are among the many national and state-level politicians who began their political careers at DUSU.
In 2019, ABVP won three posts, while NSUI won the secretary post. Similarly in 2018, the ABVP won three posts, including the coveted president’s post while NSUI bagged the secretary’s post. In 2017, NSUI bagged the president and vice president posts while ABVP emerged victorious on the remaining two posts. In the previous election, ABVP had the upper hand over its arch-rival by winning three posts and restricting NSUI to the post of joint secretary. In 2014 and 2015, ABVP achieved a clean sweep in the polls. In 2013, ABVP’s candidates secured three posts while NSUI had won the post of secretary. In 2012, NSUI had bagged three posts. In 2011, ABVP had secured three posts except the president’s post, which was won by NSUI. In 2010, ABVP secured three of the four seats, leaving the joint secretary’s post to NSUI. In 2009, an independent candidate, backed by ABVP, had won the president’s post, while Samajwadi Chatra Sabha, the students’ wing of Samajwadi Party won the joint secretary’s post. ABVP and NSUI won the posts of vice president and secretary respectively. In 2008, ABVP bagged the president’s post while NSUI bagged the remaining three posts on the panel. In 2007, NSUI performed a clean sweep, while in 2006, it bagged three posts, barring the vice president’s. In 2005, NSUI again won all four posts.