From menstrual leave up to 12 days per semester to one course one fee and metro concession passes to students are among the part of the manifestos issued by the students groups for the upcoming Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) elections which is being held after a gap of three years because of the pandemic.
The Congress’s National Student Union of India (NSUI) has come out with a five-point manifesto for female students which include menstrual leave, a zero-tolerance policy against harassment, security and safety, empowerment, and better infrastructural facilities for female students. The RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) has also launched its 21 points manifesto promising to work for more scholarships to the marginalised, including transgenders, one course one fees, fairness in education cost and metro concession passes for students.
The four main student outfits in the fray are the ABVP, the Left- backed All India Student Association (AISA) and Student Federation of India, and the NSUI. The last five times, the tussle for the four posts in the union have been between the ABVP and NSUI. The ABVP bagged the president’s seat in 2016, ‘18, and ‘19, while the NSUI got the post for a year in between, in 2017.
With this, the NSUI has released two manifestoes for the September 22 elections. The other, released on Saturday by the NSUI is a 10-point manifesto for all students that promises to ensure a violence-free campus, no fee hike and free metro passes. The women-centric “Her Manifesto” also promises students legal assistance in cases of “harassment, moral policing, cyber-bullying” among others, the NSUI said.
Round the clock security teams with increased number of women guards, installation of street lights and CCTV cameras across the campus will be ensured, the manifesto stated and added that students’ body will also take up the issue of 12 days menstrual leave per semester.
The NSUI also promises “a functional internal complaints committee, gender sensitisation workshops and self-defence training workshops in collaboration with NGOs and police”, it said.
Issues of counselling centres, medical rooms and sanitary napkin dispensers at colleges will also be looked into, the manifesto said.
Both the NSUI manifestos assured a violence-free campus, a grievance redressal cell, no fee hike, hostel for all, free metro passes, a round the clock library, an on-campus railway reservation counter, an active placement cell, free WiFi and better infrastructure.
The NSUI announced its list of candidates for the DUSU elections. Hitesh Gulia, a final-year Law Centre-I student, will contest for the president’s post. The 23-year-old completed his graduation from the Shaheed Bhagat Singh College.
Abhi Dahiya has been fielded for the post of vice-president and the 24-year-old is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Buddhist Studies.
The NSUI has fielded 24-year-old Yakshana Sharma for the post of secretary. The Hindu College graduate is a final-year LLB student at the Campus Law Centre.
Shubham Kumar Chaudhary, contesting for the post of joint secretary, did his schooling from GD Goenka School in Vasant Kunj.
He completed his graduation from the College of Vocational Studies and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Buddhist Studies.
On the other hand, the ABVP said, “It has been aptly titled ‘WoManifesto’ as it reflects the ABVP’s commitment to addressing a wide array of issues that concern the student community, especially women”.
The ABVP said that ‘One Course, One Fee’, more University Special buses, Metro concession passes, new hostels and more girls’ hostels are some of the main issues mentioned in their manifesto.
Beside this the ABVP has pitched for increment in SC/ST/OBC scholarships, construction of new hostels and girls’ hostels in every college.
“We are also pushing for an ‘Earn While Learn’ policy to provide students with opportunities to earn while pursuing their education,” the student organisation added.
The manifesto was released in the presence of all four ABVP candidates for DUSU — Tushar Dedha, Sushant Dhankar, Aprajita, and Sachin Baisla, along with ABVP state secretary, Harsh Attri, and ABVP national media convener, Ashutosh Singh.
Tushar Dedha, the ABVP’s presidential candidate, affirmed, “Previous ABVP-led DUSUs have diligently addressed student concerns. We are committed to addressing issues like fee hikes, expanding hostel infrastructure, and prioritising mental health of the students.”
Aprajita, the ABVP’s candidate for the secretary’s post emphasised the student organisation’s commitment to women empowerment and mentioned initiatives like ‘Mission Sahasi’ for self-defence training and ‘Ritumati Abhiyan’ for sanitary pad distribution.
She added that the ABVP aims to further these efforts through measures like restoring and renewing sanitary pad vending machines and incinerators in all colleges, ensuring the availability of full-time gynecologists and psychologists in the WUS Health Centre in Delhi University (DU), pink booths near every hostel, installation of CCTV cameras inside and outside college campuses, gender sensitisation camps, strengthening Internal Complaints Committees (ICC) in colleges, hiring women trainers in sports and co-curricular activities, girls’ common room in every college, etc.
Harsh Attri stressed that the manifesto was solution-oriented, emphasising a three-fold approach for the DU’s curriculum: Review, rational debate, and revise.