Campus politics in Delhi hots up as parties eye 2019 Lok Sabha polls

In about two weeks, Delhi will be the staging ground of two student union elections that appear to have reached fever pitch, before the country heads into a poll season that culminates in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Student leaders in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Delhi University (DU) are busy strategising ahead of the prestige battles for control of the unions. New alliances are being formed, and issues beyond campus politics, such as celebrating India’s many cultures, are finding a place in manifestos.

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, generated buzz at JNU on Tuesday by inviting to the campus chief ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, who stressed the Narendra Modi government’s efforts for the development of India’s northeastern states.

The ABVP said the high-profile event had nothing to do with the elections slated for September 14, but rivals called it a “blatant display of power”.

Other groups are not far behind. The left-backed Students Federation of India invited Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury last week. Congress leader P Chidambaram visited the campus on Tuesday to attend an event organised by the party’s student wing, National Students’ Union of India.

The battle lines have been drawn for the DU polls, slated for September 12, as well.

An NSUI member said the group was trying its best to make the election a huge success. Last year, the NSUI had won the two top posts— president and the vice-president — in the DU students union elections after a gap of five years, dealing a blow to the ABVP.

The Aam Aadmi Party’s students wing, Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti, too is gearing up for the polls. It was absent from campus politics for two years after losing the 2015 elections. Now, it has formed an alliance with the Left-backed All India Students Association.

First Published: Aug 30, 2018 09:10 IST

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