New front announces panel for DUSU polls

NEW DELHI, AUG. 21. They may not be starting off as favourites in the Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) elections, but the newly- formed United Students' Front ended up beating the "big" players today by being the first to announce their final panel for the polls.

A coalition of the Students' Federation of India (SFI), Chhatra Lok Janshakti (CLJ), Chhatra Rashtriya Janata Dal (CRJD) and the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha (SCS), the United Students' Front panel has SFI's Akhila Singh contesting for the post of president and SCS member Archana Yadav for the post of vice-president. While it has bet on CLJ member Vishal Singh for the general secretary's post and CRJD activist Nitesh Kumar for joint secretary.

The Front's presidential candidate Akhila Singh is in the fray for the top post for the second consecutive time, with her last year attempt under the SFI-CLJ combine winning her only 1,200 votes. Interestingly enough, Archana Yadav had also contested for the president's post last year for the SCS and had polled about 1,400 votes.

Describing their decision as unanimous, the Front today said the primary objective behind their coming together was to provide a strong alternative to existing the National Students' Union of India (NSUI) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad domination. "We realise that we cannot beat these parties alone in the DUSU right now, but together we are a strong alternative that wants to work for the interest of students,'' said Akhila Singh, a student of Miranda House.

Speaking on the major issues that the Front will be fighting the elections on, the panel said that an increase in the number of colleges in the University and the opening of evening shifts in the existing one was one of the foremost demands, with better hostel facilities, a re-look at the newly- introduced internal assessment, setting up of a gender sensitisation committee and a slash in the recently done fee hike in college being some of the others.

"We think it is strange that a party like the NSUI is actually busy talking about providing insurance cover to students when there are many more important academic issues concerning the University. We want the bus passes to be applicable to not just DTC buses but all the private buses as well as a student concession for the Metro Rail,'' said Akhila.

The issue of Hindi medium students facing discrimination is another point that the Front wants to raise.