New Delhi: The Delhi University Chief Election Officer (CEO) SH Babbar threw a spanner in the works at the last moments for the presidential candidates of both the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Congress student wing National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) ahead of the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections.
While NSUI candidate Rocky Tushir was disqualified at the last moment owing to a disciplinary complaint dating back to 2014, forcing the Congress-backed outfit to pick another candidate just six days before polling, the ABVP candidate, Rajjat Chaudhary, was forced to change his ballot number on Thursday from 5 to 8.
“He (Tushir) was banned from entering the college in 2014. Lyngdoh Committee guidelines stipulate that no candidate should have a case of any disciplinary action against him,” Babbar told the media. Meanwhile, NSUI has approached the Delhi High Court to seek a stay on the election. As a failsafe, it NSUI declared Alka, a second-year undergraduate student at Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, as its official presidential candidate.
Tushir, who was then a third-year student at Shivaji College, was censured by the college administration for indiscipline. He had allegedly broken furniture in 2014, for which he was punished. On these grounds, his candidature for the post of DUSU president was cancelled. Ruchi Gupta, All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge for NSUI, claimed this was political vendetta. “The rules are clearly being bent for the benefit of one student outfit — the ABVP. If this disciplinary action was, indeed, an issue, how did Rocky clear the initial screening process? The notion of ‘disciplinary action’ is so arbitrary because it is whatever the college deems it to be.”
In the ABVP camp, Thursday was a day of confusion as the party got to know that the ballot number of their Presidential candidate Rajjat Chaudhary was being changed from number 5 to 8. Saket Bahuguna, National Media Coordinator of the ABVP, told News 18, “On Thursday afternoon we learnt that the ballot number of our Presidential candidate had been changed. We tried to get it changed back to 5 but the Election Officer said since ballot numbers are decided according to alphabetical order, there is nothing that can be done.”
An ABVP student activists said, “Many voters don’t look beyond the first three names on the ballot. The higher your name on the ballot, the higher is your chance of winning. The NSUI candidate, Alka, is at number 1 on the ballot. As it is, our candidate was at number 5. Now he has slipped to 8. Another problem is that there is an independent candidate called Raja Chaudhary at number 7. His name is strikingly similar to our candidate, Rajjat Chaudhary. Our fear is that many of our supporters may vote for him out of confusion.”