Parul Sharma

ABVP-backed Independent elected new president of students’ union

NEW DELHI: An Independent candidate backed by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Manoj Choudhary, was elected Delhi University Students’ Union president here on Saturday.

Manoj, who according to some was a “rebel ABVP” candidate, defeated his nearest rival, Bajinder Singh of the All-India Students’ Federation, by 11 votes, having polled 5,391. Both the candidates are from the University’s Department of Buddhist Studies.

The last time an Independent candidate won the DUSU president’s post was way back in 1991.

The lone candidate from the BJP-backed ABVP in the DUSU central panel, Kriti Wadhera, won the vice-president’s post securing 6,543 votes.

The only candidate from the National Students’ Union of India, Arshdeep Kaur, a student of Campus Law Centre, was a clear winner for the secretary’s post with 8,032 votes in her favour.

Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha, the students’ outfit of the Samajwadi Party, opened its account in the Delhi University Students’ Union by wresting the post of joint secretary.

Its candidate Anupriya Tyagi from Hans Raj College secured the maximum number of votes among all the DUSU candidates this year – 9,007.

However, the results of Manoj, Kriti and Arshdeep are provisional, subject to the outcome of an ongoing inquiry into charges against them. They had been served show-cause notices last week for using printed material in their election campaign.

Earlier, the Chief Election Officer for the polls, Gurmeet Singh, had said: “If the committee finds them guilty, they can be disqualified even after the polls, and the post that he/she is elected for will remain vacant in DUSU.”

The decision on how and when to continue the inquiry would be taken next week.

Interestingly, once the results were declared on Saturday, ABVP activists gathered outside the counting centre at Kingsway Camp began celebrating since according to them the Parishad had “swept the DUSU polls 3-1”.“We were supporting Manoj Choudhary for the president’s post, Pradeep Kumar Sharma for secretary and Anupriya Tyagi for joint secretary. Of these, Manoj and Anupriya have won along with our official candidate Kriti. So that makes a 3-1 in our favour,” claimed Vikas Dahiya, an ABVP activist.

“Manoj may have fought as an Independent, but he is still a member of the ABVP State executive. He has not resigned as yet. Manoj was always our back-up option. However, since the election office seemed to be targeting only the NSUI and ABVP candidates (for disqualification), we decided not to make it very obvious that we were supporting him,” claimed Vikas.

Other ABVP activists said they supported candidates from other outfits like Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha because of the “unusual circumstances” this year.

“Our official candidate is only Kriti. But we decided to put all our strength behind other candidates to keep Left-leaning students’ outfits out of the DU campus,” asserted another ABVP activist, Ashutosh Shrivastav.

Post-results, it was quite a sight to see how the new DUSU president Manoj Choudhary was being projected as a winner from the ABVP by its activists.

Manoj himself, however, chose to be cautious: “The credit for my victory goes to my parents, friends and the ABVP family. I will deliver on my promises made to the students. It is a victory of the students.”

Asked if he still considered himself an ABVP member, he merely said: “I have been working with the ABVP organisation in the past and I will continue to work with them.”

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