Ahead of the much-hyped Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) elections scheduled to be held on September 12, North Campus has once again become the hub of all activities, especially due to the printed posters pasted across walls in the area.
Ahead of the much-hyped Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections scheduled to be held on September 12, North Campus has once again become the hub of all activities, especially due to the printed posters pasted across walls in the area. Despite having a panel that restricts students to print posters, there are layers of of them covering the city this year too. According to a report by Indian Express, in 2009, the nomination of two presidential candidates (Rohit Chahal and Deepak Negi) were cancelled by the university for violating the Lyngdoh Committee’s recommendations.
Headed by J M Lyngdoh, the panel was set up in 2006 after the Supreme Court asked the HRD Ministry to reform student politics. The recommendations also prohibit students from the use of money and muscle power in student body polls. However, these rules are barely followed in the University where student union polls are considered as a launchpad for entering mainstream politics.
The report also states that hoards of pamphlets are being thrown out of SUVs, walls are being defaced with posters and freebies are being distributed in colleges and hostels. These activities clearly reflect how tough it is to implement any recommendations in DU.
Speaking to Indian Express, Chahal, who is now the media in-charge of BJP’s youth wing said, “There was no clarity on whether the new rules will be followed.”
Negi, who is now a lawyer and NSUI’s national secretary UP in-charge, said, “I was even given my ballot number, but the university told me I had violated rules. Now, the university cannot see violations that are taking place.” The Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007 restricts disfiguring of public property and bans the use of posters, banners and writing on the wall and punishment for doing the same is up to one year jail term or fine up to Rs 50,000 or both. However, even threat of punishment or disqualification does not stop these candidates from violating the norms.
According to the current norm, a candidate can campaign only after filing their nomination and the list has been finalised for this year which will be declared on September 6. As per the model code of conduct which is enforced a day before polls, candidates can campaign for five days. However, not just the Lyngdoh panel, these candidates also violate Supreme Court guidelines which prohibit posters without details of who printed them.
These candidates also scoffed the July 2016 order given by the National Green Tribunal, which had asked DU to conduct elections without wasting paper and to reinforce the Lyngdoh committee’s recommendations. “The candidates can use two hand-made posters, which can be stuck only at spaces allotted by the university/colleges,” the NGT order said.
However, there are some students who have tried to take things into their own hands and have launched a ‘No Poster’ campaign ahead of the DUSU polls. In Miranda House students have started a “No Poster Party” to send out the message: “Waste paper and you won’t get our vote.”
In Kirori Mal College and Ram Lal Anand College, too, students raise similar concerns. Several students have raised their voices saying that if roads and walls are dirty due to posters, votes will not be cast for that candidate. According to Indian Express, students opposing the use of posters and pamphlets have also started removing them around North Campus.
A group standing against the violations said that it will speak to candidates individually, asking them to refrain from wasting paper: “You can spam students on Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter to promote candidates. This won’t harm the environment,” it added.