ABVP on a losing spree; rebuff to Right ideology may have begun on campuses

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The fightback against Right wing politics may have started on campuses. The results of the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections coming close on the heels of the defeat of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) indicate to the receding appeal of the Right ideology among the student community.

The results of the DU students’ body elections is particularly significant since it has been a stronghold of the RSS-affiliated ABVP for a long time. In recent times, the latter has been active in many pet projects linked to the Sangh ideology, including its nationalist agenda. Given the intensity of its campaign, it was expected that it would leave rivals such as the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) far behind in the race.

File image of NSUI members. Facebook

However, Wednesday’s results sprang quite a surprise. The Congress-backed NSUI won the crucial posts of president and vice-president. The ABVP had to settle for the posts of secretary and joint secretary.

The NSUI has managed to win the important post of president after four years. The ABVP, on the other hand, has been a dominant force in the University for the past four years at a stretch. Its growing prominence in the campus politics roughly coincides with the BJP’s resounding victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections under Narendra Modi. ABVP made a clean sweep in the 2014 DUSU elections by bagging all the four central panel posts. The credit for that victory was given to the ‘Modi wave’ and the ‘good work’ of the then three-month old government.

In 2015, ABVP continued its strong show by again winning all the four posts. It maintained its dominance in the DUSU till 2016, bagging three seats including that of the president. Meanwhile, the NSUI managed a toehold by winning the joint secretary’s post last year.

Only a week ago, barring the CPI-backed AISF, the Left unions – SFI, AISA and DSA – formed a coalition. The alliance, dubbed ‘Left Unity’ was aimed at defeating the ABVP in JNU.

Although the University is known to be a Left bastion, a spate of incidents, relating to ideology, over the last one year had created the impression that the RSS-backed body was in the ascendancy and that it would win over fresh converts in herds.The results prove otherwise.

Worse, it conveyed that the student community was getting disenchanted with its brand of combative politics. All the top four posts were bagged by the Left Unity – president and vice-president by AISA, general secretary by SFI and joint secretary by DSF. ABVP ended up second in the race. Last year, ABVP candidate Saurabh Sharma had managed to bag the joint secretary post in JNUSU.

The ABVP had claimed that on the basis of its ‘pro-student issues’ and consistent ‘developmental work’ on JNU campus, it would defeat the Left, as students have got over the ‘Communist narratives’. With the NDA government at the Centre, they expected to repeat the feat of 2000, when ABVP candidate Sandeep Mahapatra had bagged the president’s post for the first and the last time in JNUSU history.

“Today’s victory of the NSUI at DUSU is a mandate against Modi’s policies and the RSS-ABVP agenda of saffronisation of university campuses. The results of Rajasthan University, Panjab University and now Delhi University shows how the students have rejected them. Amid strong positioning of the ABVP, the victory of the NSUI also reflects the trust reposed by the youth on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi,” NSUI’s national media in-charge Neeraj Mishra told Firstpost.

Prior to JNU and DU students’ polls, in the elections in Rajasthan University, the ABVP came a cropper, losing all three major seats. While the president post was won by an independent candidate, NSUI bagged vice-president and general secretary posts. ABVP had to remain satisfied with the joint secretary post. It was a big blow for the ABVP, as BJP is in power in Rajasthan.

Similarly, in Panjab University’s student polls, NSUI won three posts, including that of the president. Besides its success in the campuses, the Congress seems to be making grounds for a comeback, especially after a thumping victory in the Punjab Assembly election.

“Successive defeats reflect that the ‘Youth for change’ is fed up with false promises of the Modi government and the BJP, as jobs are evaporating, opportunities diminishing and freedom is curtailed. Both the government and the BJP seek to curb the freedom of young. Right to think, eat, dress, move around and shape one’s destiny is under attack by the fringe with an active complicity of the BJP government,” Congress communication department head, Randeep Surjewala told Firstpost.





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