AAP-backed CYSS to contest DUSU polls, may signal end of ABVP-NSUI tussle era

The Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) – the students’ union of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is the new boy in Delhi University.

Debobrat Ghose September 08, 2015 20:20:08 IST
AAP-backed CYSS to contest DUSU polls, may signal end of ABVP-NSUI tussle era

New Delhi: The Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS) – the students’ union of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is the new boy in Delhi University, aspiring to take two traditional heavyweights – Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) head on in the upcoming Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) election 2015 by adopting the strategy of its parent party.

Eyeing the 2015 DUSU election, the AAP launched its students’ wing in a big way on 27 September 2014, and since then, the CYSS has spread its wings across DU’s North and South campuses.

AAPbacked CYSS to contest DUSU polls may signal end of ABVPNSUI tussle era

Representational image. Reuters

Abhash Chandela, national coordinator, CYSS told Firstpost, “The CYSS is not just a student organization but also the ideological inheritor of ‘India Against Corruption’ and AAP, and we feel that the student politics of DUSU has to be cleansed by the broom that we wield. We, at CYSS, believe that clean politics and student welfare policies have to break the nexus of muscle power, money power and non-college crowd in DUSU. Similar to the AAP that provided an alternative to the Congress and the BJP to the voters of Delhi and witnessed a landslide victory, the CYSS will provide a positive alternative to DU students in this election.”

Traditionally, ABVP and NSUI have been the dominant forces in DU students’ politics for decades. While, last year, it was the RSS-affiliated ABVP that bagged all the four seats in DUSU election, the Left-backed All India Students’ Association (AISA) made a considerable penetration amongst the students for the first time. However, the ABVP continues to dominate DU. “Our main rival is ABVP. Last year we didn’t contest, but we had seeding activities and did our homework to contest this year,” said Chandela.

In a bid to counter its two prominent opponents, the CYSS wants to use the image of Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal and the party’s tag line ‘provide clean politics’ to win over the students. Even otherwise, it’s Kejriwal’s photograph that is gracing the CYSS posters bearing only names of the contesting candidates.

In its recently released Charter of Demands (named Sadda Haq), the CYSS has made some popular demands which have been on the wish list of the students for years, like, full-year DTC bus passes, Metro students’ concessional card, increase in the number of hostels, hostels for North East students, opening up of the university stadium, etc. It has also introduced some of the demands from AAP’s Delhi Dialogue initiative to win over the students like Aam Aadmi clinics near colleges, CCTVs in university buses, gender sensitization, free Wi-Fi, Anti-street harassment cells in all colleges and implementation of Vishakha Guidelines in colleges.

The CYSS is eyeing the space that AISA penetrated last year. According to a member of AAP students’ wing, “Students voted AISA as they had no option. They didn’t want to vote for ABVP and NSUI. But, this year, CYSS will be a strong third alternative.”

The Congress-backed NSUI vice president and Delhi in-charge, Kumar Raja said, “Traditionally, the contest is between NSUI and ABVP. The CYSS is nowhere inside the campus. They don’t have any base among the students and it’s through hired volunteers that they are campaigning. Moreover, the government is with them for funding the election, which is evident from the big hoarding at all prominent places that CYSS has hired. DU students have started questioning about their use of money.”

To make this 2015 election big, the first-timer CYSS, with a strong backing of the AAP-government in Delhi, has already conducted a survey, on the basis of which it has planned its campaign strategy, similar to the AAP during Delhi Assembly election, with a lot of emphasis on ground work and activities on social media. Now, the direct fight will be between RSS-affiliated students’ wing ABVP and CYSS, both of which are strong volunteer-based unions.

In the past, the premium colleges witnessed a lower rate of voting. But, this time, the CYSS wants to change the trend and also wants to have a strong penetration in the North campus, which is usually dominated by students from outside Delhi. “It’s a challenge for us,” said a CYSS member. To win this election, CYSS will have to increase its influence in both the North and South campuses of DU.

ABVP general secretary Shreerang Kulkarni said, “Our fight is with the NSUI, our traditional rival, and they are visible in the campus, unlike the CYSS. It’s only after AAP came to power that its newly formed students’ wing emerged as a contestant. It wants to cash in on the goodwill that AAP had originally earned, but now people and especially the students are aware about the party’s credibility in delivering its promises. They can’t fool DU students, who are well aware of the facts. They are using both the government and administrative support, but time will tell. For so many years we had been demanding for DU special buses, but it’s only now that the Delhi government launched it just before the election. Moreover those buses have been used to exhibit posters and banners of the CYSS, which is ridiculous.”

“Last year, we bagged all the four seats and this year too, we’ll do it. Though some of our old members have joined the CYSS, they are not our competitor anyway,” added Kulkarni.

In response to the allegations of the opponents, Chandela added, “The opponents have started accusing us by saying that since we’re a part of the AAP, the government has implemented Wi-Fi just before the election. Whereas, the fact is that it’s a mere coincidence, as the AAP after coming to power had started working on the installation of Wi-Fi and CCTVs. It has nothing to do with the DUSU election. Initially, AAP gave us some hand-holding, but now it’s the students who are fighting their battle.”

Whether the DUSU election 2015 will go in the favour of old-timers - the ABVP or the NSUI, or the fresher CYSS, it’s going to be an election to watch out for.

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