An overwhelming 72.86 per cent turnout was recorded in the Delhi University Teachers’ Association elections held at the Arts Faculty on the North Campus on Thursday. Campaigning was seen until the last vote was cast at 5 p.m., despite regular classes being held.
“A union which speaks the voice of teachers and not the administration is what we need right now, and keeping this in mind we made the effort to come here despite being busy,” said Dr. Neera Agnihotri, a teacher from the Department of Social Work. She was one of the first to cast her vote at the crowded venue.
At the Arts Faculty, various colleges and departments had their own polling booths and their entrances were teeming with teachers trying to influence the last-minute vote.
“Some of the teachers who are undecided vote on a whim. It is these votes that last-minute campaigning hopes to capture,” said a volunteer, who was shouting his candidate’s ballot number for the teachers lined up to cast their vote.
“There is a lot of anger against the authoritarian policies of the administration and that is one of the reasons why there is such an overwhelming turnout,” said Rajiv Kumar Verma, who was doing last-minute campaigning by chatting up the teachers he knew. For many it was also a time to meet old acquaintances. “This is the perfect opportunity for us to catch up with our colleagues whom we don’t see for long,” said Ritu Goel, a teacher from the off-campus Lakshmibai College.
A total of 6,475 of the 8,886 teachers turned up to cast their vote, with some ad-hoc teachers complaining that their names were not on the voters’ list. “This was not a big issue though, since someone from the college could vouch for you once you showed the election authorities an identity proof from your college,” said one ad-hoc teacher, whose name had not appeared despite registering. The staff association of each college was given the responsibility of sending their teachers’ names to the election commissioner.
Each voter is allowed 16 votes; one vote is for the post of DUTA president and the next 15 for the executive panel members.
“Once this entire panel is elected, the 15 members in turn vote for the other four posts of vice-president, secretary, joint secretary and treasurer,” said Abha Dev Habib, executive member of the outgoing teachers’ union.